Madras HC Quashes Complaint of a Property dispute branded as Domestic Violence

  • The Madras High Court in its recent order quashed the complaint under the Domestic Violence Act, stating that the Act was being abused by some people to harass family members.

     A petition was moved by a widow against her father-in-law and sister-in-law.

    The Court observed that the Domestic Violence Act has been enacted to give more effective protection of the rights of women who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family.

     In the case, the sister-in-law of the petitioner bought a house property from her father and initiated proceedings in the rent control court to evict the petitioner, who had been staying there as tenant. The widowed petitioner then filed a complaint under the Domestic Violence Act seeking an order, a) restraining the respondents from alienating the house property, b) permitting her to remain in the house property, c) to pay maintenance of Rs 5,00,000/- for her daughter Nirmala.

    The Court observed: “From the perusal of the contentions and documents, it is evident that if, at all, the respondent claims the right over the property in the capacity as wife of the deceased husband, the remedy is only to file a civil suit for declaration of her rights and there cannot be a complaint under the Domestic Violence Act, when the petitioner, herein, has resorted to legal remedy. If the legal remedy sought for is branded as domestic violence, then it is a case of abuse of process of law. Therefore, the complaint is liable to be quashed and it is quashed accordingly.”


    The domestic violence Act and Anti Dowry Act are two of the most misused and feared law at present. They were enacted to protect the women from the abuse most commonly experienced by them, but in turn have become an instrument of harassment. Every Act has its defined purpose and covers a specified area of law. And any encroachment by a particular Act in an area not covered by it is an abuse of power and against the interest of justice. The HC was right in its decison of quashing the complaint of a property suit filed under Domestic violece Act. The remedies avaliable under civil suit and under domestic violence are completely different. The latter involving investigation and arrest, which would have resulted in injustice and extreme hardship to her in - laws. 

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