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The Karnataka High Court in a recent judgment held that omission of the husband is neglecting to maintain the wife and living with another woman amounts to “economic” and “emotional” abuse and wife is entitled to protection under Domestic Violence Act.
In the present matter, the wife has filed a petition for maintenance after three decades. Considering this the husband contended that his wife had no grievance from past 30 years about his second marriage and hence her claim is barred by limitation.
The court observed, the question of limitation raised by the husband cannot be accepted mechanically only on the point that the petition for maintenance was filed after three decades.
Justice Rathnakala said, “the obligation of the husband continues throughout the marriage and the husband cannot get away with the excuse that for many years the wife did not make any request for maintenance.”
The court explained that “Domestic violence” as defined under Section 3 of the Act among others take into fold “economic abuse” as well. The omission of the husband to maintain the wife during the matrimonial life comes within the ambit of Section 3 of the Act. The very fact that he has led life with another woman and begot children from her amounts to “emotional abuse” as contemplated under the Act.
This affects the physical and the mental well being of the aggrieved person and this can be termed as domestic violence under the Act.
In this case, the court held that the husband is guilty of domestic violence and the wife is entitled to protection under Domestic Violence Act. The limitation cannot be a ground for the husband to escape limitation.