Do Women Drag Relatives Into Marital Dispute Claims?

The Delhi HC observed that there was a growing tendency amongst women to rope in all their relatives, including minors, while filing an FIR in relation to matrimonial disputes. How to prove abuse behind closed doors?

Kalyani Ganesan
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Delhi HC On Matrimonial Disputes
The Delhi High Court recently observed that merely because a person’s name is included in an FIR, it cannot hinder them from a public appointment unless their involvement has been proved through substantial investigations, especially with regard to matrimonial offences.

A two-judge division bench comprising Justice V Kameswar Rao and Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta stated in its order on May 31 that there was a growing tendency amongst women to rope in all their relatives, including minors while filing an FIR in relation to matrimonial disputes. The court added that many of these complaints are eventually settled among the family and later revealed to have been filed in the heat of the moment over trivial issues.

Delhi HC On Matrimonial Disputes

The high court was hearing a plea challenging a February 20 order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) halting the recruitment of a man to the post of sub-inspector (Exe) in the Delhi Police until the final outcome of the proceedings with regard to the FIR.

The FIR was filed by the man’s sister-in-law, implicating all family members. She had filed the FIR according to sections 498A (husband or relative of the husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 506 (criminal intimidation), among others.

Apparently, the man’s name was mentioned in "Column 12" of the FIR, which included people against whom no evidence has been found but whose involvement cannot be ruled out. Hence, the Delhi High Court directed the authorities to appoint the man to the concerned post within a period of four weeks as he was satisfying all other conditions.

The Delhi High Court’s point cannot be completely denied, as sometimes men are falsely implicated in certain charges and some complaints are lodged in the heat of the moment. But what if a complaint was filed after great deliberation? What if the people named in the FIR had really inflicted some form of cruelty on the woman, but she wasn’t able to submit substantial evidence to support her claim


How To Prove Abuse Behind Closed Doors?

Most often, during a matrimonial dispute between a couple, the man’s family intervenes because they apparently have the "right" to interfere, while the woman’s parents are out of the picture as soon as they give her hand off in marriage. Let’s assume a couple gets into a heated argument. The man’s parents or siblings interfere and instigate the altercation; they verbally abuse or perhaps even physically assault her. It all happens within fractions of seconds, leaving the woman with no time to even process what just happened. All this takes place behind closed doors, while the woman is surrounded by her spouse and his family. How is it fair to expect her to prove that she was abused in such a situation?

There’s no one to support her claims, and she had no opportunity to record the incident because it just happened out of the blue. While the evidence is vital to substantiate one’s claims, should women be expected to carry a secret camera right from the day they get married so that it might come in handy if they ever experience serious matrimonial disputes? Domestic violence doesn’t merely pertain to physical abuse; it could be emotional abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, or financial abuse. Cruelty could be inflicted on a woman in many forms, not just by her spouse but by his family members too.

Physical abuse leaves scars for the naked eye to see. The woman might even have to get medical aid to tend to certain injuries, and that could probably be submitted as proof. But how can a woman prove that she was emotionally or verbally abused because the scars are only visible to her? Just because there’s no bruise or blood on the external body, can other kinds of domestic violence be trivialised?

Just to reiterate, evidence is substantial, but not all matrimonial disputes involving various forms of abuse can be proved. Given that domestic violence is one of the most common forms of violence against women in the country, don’t women deserve a fair investigation into their claims beyond tangible proof?


Suggested Reading: Why Domestic Violence Also Includes Emotional, Verbal And Financial Abuse

Image Credits: DNAIndia

Views expressed by the author are their own

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