Home Latest News In DV cases, documentary proof not necessary says HC directing US-based man to pay Rs 3 cr damages to wife in Mumbai | India News – Times of India

In DV cases, documentary proof not necessary says HC directing US-based man to pay Rs 3 cr damages to wife in Mumbai | India News – Times of India

In DV cases, documentary proof not necessary says HC directing US-based man to pay Rs 3 cr damages to wife in Mumbai | India News – Times of India


MUMBAI: Observing that in domestic violence cases, documentary proof such as medical and police reports are not necessary, Bombay high court upheld two lower court orders directing an ex-husband, a US-citizen, to pay ₹3 crore as compensation for 23 years of domestic violence to his Mumbai-based ex-wife.
“It is not necessary that the acts complained of are required to be substantiated by documentary evidence,’’ said Justice Sharmila Deshmukh in a ruling on March 22.She said it was well known that when a marriage subsists, “more often than not there is no police complaint filed and the physical abuse may not be to such an extent so as to require hospitalization, in which case the medical record would substantiate the abuse.’’
During their honeymoon, he called her ‘second hand’ over her previous broken engagement, was one allegation, the court noted.
A Mumbai magistrate last Jan after factoring in her family’s testimony among other evidence held the wife had faced “continuous acts of domestic violence from 1994 to 2017.’’ The trial court finding “can’t be faulted with’’, said the HC.
The magistrate also gave her Rs 1.5 lakh as maintenance per month since 2017 when she filed the application saying at age 55, she lost her marriage and there are “no further prospects’’. The sessions court dismissed his appeal against the Magistrate’s order. The HC dismissed his challenge to the sessions court judgment.
The husband argued that despite the absence of documentary evidence to corroborate her allegations of harassment since 1994 when they married, the sessions court had wrongly accepted her case. She had alleged assault, both in the US and India, her character assassination by him and verbal and emotional abuse.
“It is well known that abuse in a marriage usually occurs within four walls of the house and is confined to the couple, rarely occurring in presence of eye witnesses. The evidence has to thus accordingly be assessed,” said Justice Deshmukh adding that the fact that the wife was earning doesn’t ipso facto disentitle her from receiving maintenance.
The HC reiterated that while criminal procedure code (CrPC) does govern DV proceedings, the remedies under the salutary Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005 are “civil’’ in nature; and “usual standard of proof don’t apply.’’
The couple married in Mumbai. Both are US citizens. He is in the US now. She is working in Mumbai.
Both returned to India in 2005-06. She stayed on. In 2008 she began residing with her mother. He moved back a decade ago. In 2017, she filed a DV case before a Mumbai magistrate and he filed for divorce before a US court. In 2018, the US court dissolved their marriage.
After hearing husband’s lawyer Vikramaditya Deshmukh and advocate Ashutosh Kulkarn as amicus curiae (friend of court) since wife appeared in person, the HC said “Considering that even verbal or emotional abuse constitutes domestic violence,’’ wife’s deposition during trial establishes that she suffered physical, emotional and verbal abuse by him.
Desmukh argued she had Rs 1.2 crore savings and earns well and opposed orders to give her Rs 1.5 lakh maintenance monthly. The HC disagreed that maintenance was ‘excessive’’. His submission overlooks that, “she is entitled to the same standard of living as that of (the husband)’’. She had argued, he earns USD 3,00,000 annually.
The husband said since they are divorced, she is not entitled to any relief now. The HC noted that the magistrate had held that since she was not heard in the US, natural justice principles were not followed. He also argued that additional compensation requires specific finding of emotional and mental distress due to the DV. But the HC said there can be no straitjacket formula to decide damages. The DV impact has to be assessed case by case, the HC said.
“Both are well educated and highly placed in their workplace and in social life’’, hence DV “would be greater felt’’ by the wife “as it would affect her self-worth’’ said Justice Deshmukh before clarifying that it doesn’t mean that those “from other walks of life will not be impacted by the DV suffered by them.’’
The HC had reserved the matter for orders on Feb 12 and passed the order on March 22 observing, “The Trial Court has granted the compensation considering the entire facts and circumstances and has decided the quantum by considering the status of the parties and income.” The HC said, ” Amicus Curiae has interestingly justified the quantum by pointing out that since 2008, the (ex-wife) is without any maintenance and even if the sum of Rs 1,50,000/ per month is considered, the same would amount to Rs 2,70,00,000/ which is just, fair and reasonable. Considering the facts of the present case, the justification of the quantum according to the formula devised by Amicus Curiae cannot be faulted.”
The DV Act and additional compensation ·

  • Section 22 provides for damages apart from other relief to a person aggrieved.
  • ·The amount is granted as a recompense not only for the physical injuries but also for mental torture and emotional distress

There cannot be a straitjacket formula applicable to all and the quantum for compensation will differ according to the facts of each case. In my view, while determining the quantum of compensation, one of the factors which can be considered is the impact of the acts of domestic violence on the aggrieved person. Although the abuse will necessarily result in mental torture
and emotional distress for the aggrieved person, the gravity will differ from person to person.
–Justice Sharmila Deshmukh of Bombay HC
What HC has held in the past
In 2021, Bombay HC held that in cases of domestic violence, it is often found that the wife does not immediately rush to the police when inflicted with physical, mental, physiological and economic abuse and even if such a person suffers injuries they would not necessarily keep medical records of the same.


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