Victim cannot seek remedy under two different enactments for same cause: HC
As a police complaint had already been filed, cognisance cannot be taken under Domestic Violence Act
Judicial Magistrates cannot take cognisance of a complaint under the
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 if the victim had
already lodged a complaint with the police under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, the Madras High Court has ruled.
Disposing of a petition filed in the Madurai Bench by a family from
Dindigul, Justice V. Periya Karuppiah held that a victim could not seek
remedy under two different enactments for the same cause of action as it would amount to double jeopardy which was prohibited under the
The Judge also said that a woman could not demand action, under the
Act, against her in-laws for writing a letter to her husband’s office
seeking his employment details. He agreed with petitioners’ counsel N.
Veera Kathiravan that the complainant would not be in anyway aggrieved
by such a letter.
An aged woman, her daughter and son-in-law had filed the present
petition seeking to quash an order passed by the Dindigul Judicial
Magistrate-II who took cognisance of a complaint lodged by the former’s
daughter-in-law alleging that the petitioners assaulted her and also
wrote letters to her office and that of her husband.
Stating that the mother-in-law alone could be prosecuted for writing a letter to her daughter-in-law’s office, Mr. Justice Karuppiah said:
“When a complaint is filed under the Act, the lower court must apply its mind and ensure if the allegations attract provisions of the special
enactment. But in this case, it has been taken on file abruptly.”
The Judge quashed the case with respect to the victim’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law on the ground that there was no evidence to prove
that they assisted in writing the letter.
In so far as the allegation of assault was concerned, a complaint was pending with the police and hence the victim could not invoke the 2005
Act, he said.