The Orissa High Court will consider the issue whether a wife, who alleged domestic violence by her husband, seek the restitution of conjugal rights?

The Court disposed of proceedings under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act), noting insufficient evidence to support the alleged offence of physical violence and suicide by the Wife.

The Bench comprising Justice Arindam Sinha and Justice M. S. Sahoo observed, “we adjourn MATA no.89 of 2022 for Mr. Das, learned advocate appearing on behalf of respondent-wife being heard on how his client can maintain contradictory positions of allegation of domestic violence and restitution of conjugal rights, for joining society of the perpetrator of the alleged violence”.

Advocate G. N. Parida appeared for the Appellants and Advocate Amitav Das appeared for the Respondents.

Two appeals were filed by the Husband, one challenging the order allowing the wife's petition for restitution of conjugal rights, and the other contesting the order on the wife's application under the DV Act. The Wife had filed a case alleging cruelty against the husband but also filed an application seeking the restitution of conjugal rights.

The Court reviewed the transfer order of the domestic violence case from the Magistrate's Court to the Family Court and emphasized disclosing previous maintenance proceedings in subsequent cases to prevent conflicting orders.

The Court noted that the complications arising from transferring a criminal case to a Family Court and observed the Family Courts Act does not explicitly include jurisdiction over criminal cases initiated under the DV Act. The appeal was before the High Court as the Family Court's impugned order was appealable under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act.

The Court, after scrutinizing both orders, noted contradictions in the findings related to the alleged suicide attempt and physical assault in the domestic violence case.

The Court noted that the 'Bismozyme' that was consumed by wife in her alleged suicide attempt was determined to be a non-poisonous homoeopathic medicine. However, in the domestic violence order, the Family Court relied on the wife's consumption of 200 ml of Bismozyme as a suicide attempt due to alleged cruelty.

Despite this, the order acknowledged the absence of documentary evidence supporting the claimed physical assault and highlighted the lack of records indicating treatment for the alleged bleeding head injury.

Therefore, utilizing Rule 33 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the Court set aside the impugned order. The adjournment of the other appeal was granted for further arguments on the contradictory positions maintained by the wife.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the first Appeal and listed the second appeal for February 6, 2024.

Cause Title: Satyajit Padhi and another v Jogamaya Pati

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