Delhi High Court upholds order

Delhi High Court upholds order | Elocationfinder

The Delhi High Court recently upheld the order of an Additional Session Judge directing a married man to pay ad-interim maintenance under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 to a woman claiming to be his live-in partner.

According to LiveLaw, While doing so, the Single Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad observed that the issue as to whether the parties were residing in a shared household and were enjoying a domestic relationship in the nature of marriage, could not be decided without leading evidence.

The order assumes significance in light of recent judgments of other High Courts holding that a live-in-relationship between a married and unmarried person or is not permissible.

Orders on this proposition have been passed by the High Courts of Allahabad, Rajasthan, and Punjab.

In fact, the Bombay High Court in 2015 denied the relief under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (DV) Act to a woman who was living with a married man for 15 years. It ruled that such a relationship cannot be relationship in the nature of marriage and therefore, there is no entitlement under the DV Act.

In the instant case, the woman claimed that the petitioner did not disclose his marital status when they met, so as to induce her to marry him. The petitioner was also stated to have executed a Marriage Agreement with her, to show his genuineness and responsibility towards her and her child from the previous marriage.

She further claimed that the petitioner arranged a rental accommodation and both of them were living as husband and wife. She mentioned that the petitioner’s name is shown as the father of her child in the school records. Further, the petitioner is named as a nominee in her bank accounts.

She prayed that now on account of differences with the petitioner, directions may be issued restraining the latter evicting her from the rented accommodation and also directing him to pay interim maintenance.

The petitioner on the other hand challenged the maintainability of proceedings under the DV Act. He stated that the woman admittedly knew that he was married to somebody else and therefore, she cannot claim any relief under the DV Act.

In the instant case, the Court said, the material placed on record shows that the Petitioner had entered into a marriage agreement in the year 2012. It concluded that the parties are majors and they have voluntarily cohabited for a significant period of time.

However, it ruled that the question as to whether the respondent herein has been duped by the petitioner or whether she was a party to an adulterous and bigamous relationship or not and whether her conduct would not entitle her for any protection under the DV Act can be determined only after the evidence is led.

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