According to the Delhi court, a married woman is entitled to benefits and protection under the domestic violence law until her husband gets a decree of nullity of their marriage.
The sessions court made the law clear to a man, who had challenged a magisterial court's order directing him to pay an interim maintenance of Rs 5,000 to his estranged wife on the grounds that the woman was already married before marrying him.
"I am of the view that until and unless the man did not get decree of nullity of marriage with the woman, as divorce petition under the Hindu Marriage Act has already been filed, for she is entitled benefits and protection under Domestic Violence Act as the Act is benevolent in favour of a woman", Additional Sessions Judge Jagdish Kumar said.
The court dismissed the man's appeal, saying there was no illegality, infirmity or impropriety in the order of the trial court and it was an interim order of maintenance which could be modified at the time of final disposal of the main petition.
The man challenged the trial court order, saying it had not considered the fact that his marriage with the woman was null and void from the beginning as she was already married to some other person.
To this, the sessions court said even if this fact was accepted for the sake of an argument, the marriage of the woman with the other person "may be nullity ab-initio" under the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act as she asserted that he was her cousin brother.
"Then the marriage between the appellant man and the woman may subsist. Though it is not within the jurisdiction of this court to give any opinion regarding the nullity or subsisting of marriage between the man and the woman but I am giving the observation only on the basis of averment in pleading, if same is admitted to be correct and same are only for the sake of argument," the judge said.
The woman, in her petition seeking maintenance from her husband, had said that she got married to him in March 2013 and alleged that the man and his parents started harassing her just after few days of marriage. She also alleged that her husband and in-laws started demanding dowry and she was thrown out of her matrimonial house two months after marriage, i.e. in May 2013 after which she approached the court.
The man, in his appeal, also placed on record a marriage certificate of the woman with the other person purportedly issued by the registrar of Hindu marriages in Ghaziabad.
The court, however, said mere production of a marriage certificate issued under the Special Marriage Act in support of her claimed the first marriage was not sufficient.