Violence plea challenged in Mafatlal feud
MUMBAI: Sheetal Mafatlal, wife of Mafatlal industry scion Atulya, has challenged the right of her mother-in-law to accuse only her and not her son of domestic violence. The law requires allegations of domestic violence be made against a male, she said in an application on Monday, questioning the maintainability of her mother-in-law’s complaint.
Mafatlal matriarch Madhuri , who is now 78 years old and frail, has time till September 27 to file her reply. Her lawyers say the Supreme Court has held that complaints can be filed against women alone.
Through her lawyers Zulfi Memon and Parvez Memon, Sheetal filed a written application to challenge her mother-in-law’s plea to restrain her from entering their palatial home on Altamount Road because of her (Sheetal’s) alleged acts of violence against her in-laws. Sheetal, once arrested in a customs case at Mumbai airport for not disclosing jewellery she was carrying -a charge she denied–was present in court and described herself in her application as “a law abiding woman having deep roots and high esteem in the society.”
She too has filed a similar application under the Protection of Woman from Domestic Violence Act against Madhuri and 12 others, including her husband Atulya and his first wife, Payal. She has engaged advocate Aabad Ponda too to argue her domestic violence case. Her plea is that in law, a mother-in-law cannot file a complaint against her own daughter-in-law. In any case, she says the complaint has no merit.
The definition of “Respondents” as provided under Section 2(q) of the DV Act means any “adult male person who, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved person and against whom the aggrieved person has sought any relief under this Act”.
A complaint can, thus, be filed only by a woman against her husband or male partner who is relationship which is like a marriage, is her lawyer’s argument. They rely on a recent SC judgment to argue that Madhuri is thus, “expressly barred” from filing a complaint against Sheetal. Sheetal said Madhuri’s complaint be dismissed with heavy costs.