The Bombay high court on Thursday issued a notice to the attorney general of India seeking the Union government's reply on a petition challenging constitutional validity of a section of the Domestic Violence Act, which allows cases to be filed only against male members.
The petition filed by two women, including a senior citizen, has challenged the validity of section 2 (q) of the Domestic Violence Act according to which the definition of 'respondent' is limited to adult male members.
According to the petitioners - Kusum Harsora, 53, and her mother Pushpa Harsora, 78, - the section makes an unreasonable, unfair and arbitrary distinction in the definition of 'respondent'.
"Even female family members can be perpetrators of domestic violence. By restricting the definition of respondent to a domestic violence case to adult male members, the entire purpose of the Act is defeated. The section must be declared as unconstitutional and violative of the rights of a women," the petition states.
The petition was filed after a single judge of the high court in February last year quashed a case filed by the petitioner against her sisters and sister-in-law under the Domestic Violence Act. The high court had while quashing the case taken the view that there cannot be any case under DV Act against female relatives.
Kusum had filed the complaint in a metropolitan magistrate in October 2010 against her two sisters - Anita and Chandrika - brother Pradeep and his wife Hiral. Kusum had alleged that the four were harassing her and mother Pushpa.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Anoop Mohta issued a notice to the attorney general of India seeking the Union Government's reply on the petition by March 18.