New Delhi: In what can be said a move towards gender equality, the Supreme Court has struck down the words ‘adult male’ before the word “person” in Section 2(q) of Domestic Violence (DV) Act saying that these words discriminate between persons similarly situated and far from being in tune with, are contrary to the object sought to be achieved by the 2005 Act.
Following this move by the Supreme Court, a woman now will also be able to file a complaint against another woman in cases of domestic violence.
A Bench comprising of Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice RF Nariman have set aside the judgement of Bombay High Court’s judgement in 2014 where it had read down the provisions of section 2(q) of the DV Act and held that the provisions of “respondent” in section 2(q) of the DV Act is not to be read in isolation but has to be read as a part of the scheme of the DV Act, and particularly along with the definitions of “aggrieved person”, “domestic relationship” and “shared household” in clauses (a), (f) and (s) of section 2 of the DV Act.
“We declare that the words ‘adult male’ in Section 2(q) will stand deleted since these words do not square with Article 14 (equality) of the Constitution of India,” the court said.
Prior to this, under Section 2(q) of the 2005 act, complaints in cases related to domestic violence could only be filed against ‘adult male person’, barring women from being accused of offences mentioned under the law.
“The microscopic difference between male and female, adult and non-adult, regard being had to the object sought to be achieved by the 2005 Act, is neither real or substantial nor does it have any rational relation to the object of the legislation. In fact, the words ‘adult male person’ are contrary to the object of affording protection to women who have suffered from domestic violence of any kind,” the Supreme Court Bench said.