Mumbai Court can take call on domestic violence in US: Bombay HC

A bench of Justice Sambhaji Shinde has accordingly dismissed a plea filed by a US-based IT professional, who challenged a Magistrate’s order directing him to pay maintenance to his wife and son

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The Bombay High Court in a ruling, recently held that a local Magistrate court has sufficient powers and jurisdiction to conduct a trial in a domestic violence complaint, even if the actual violence has taken place in the United States.

A bench of Justice Sambhaji Shinde has dismissed a plea filed by a US-based IT professional, who challenged a Magistrate’s order that directed him to pay maintenance to his wife and son. The person had claimed that the Magistrate did not have any jurisdiction to entertain his now estranged wife’s plea since the alleged domestic violence has taken place in the US and not in Mumbai.

After which, Justice Shinde slammed the argument and said,

The courts at the place where the wife takes shelter after leaving or driven away from the matrimonial home on account of acts of cruelty committed by the husband or his relatives, would (depending on the factual situation) also have jurisdiction to entertain a complaint alleging domestic violence.”

“There is no substance in the contention of the husband that the Magistrate’s court at Mumbai has no jurisdiction to entertain his wife’s complaint,” Justice Shinde ruled.

What Happened?

The couple had married in 2008 at Lucknow as per the Muslim rites. After which, the man and his wife subsequently migrated to the US and settled there. Later in 2013, the couple was blessed with a baby boy.

However, there were differences between the two and later, the wife moved to Columbus, Indiana, and eventually, travelled to India and started living with her brother in Mumbai. That's when she accused her husband of domestic violence and physical and mental harassment.

On the other hand, as she continued to live in Mumbai, the husband filed a plea in the Superior Court at California seeking divorce and also sought permanent custody of the child. The SC of California provided a decree in favour of the husband and also granted him the custody of the child. The court, also issued arrest warrants against the wife, for having fled with the child.

Looking at the developments in California, the wife resorted to Indian Judiciary and moved a plea before the Magistrate’s court in Mulund seeking reliefs under the Domestic Violence Act. Under which, one of the reliefs was interim maintenance.

Taking everything into consideration, the Magistrate, allowed her plea and ordered the husband to pay interim maintenance of ₹30,000 and ₹15,000 for the wife and the child, respectively.

As a result, the husband challenged it before a Sessions Court, which upheld the Magistrate’s order. He finally moved Justice Shinde’s bench, which refused to entertain his plea and ordered him to continue paying the interim maintenance and to face the trial until it concludes.

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