Calcutta High Court Reiterated the Scope of the Grounds for Exercising Its Criminal Revisional Jurisdiction.

Case: Shreya Beria vs Vedant Bhagat [C.R.R 853 of 2020]

The Calcutta HC on 20th January 2021, dismissed the criminal revision filed by the Petitioners (wife) challenging the legality, validity, and propriety of the stay order dated 24th February 2020 passed in Criminal Appeal under Sections 12/23 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. 

Facts of the case:

The marriage of the Petitioners (wife) with the Opposite Party was solemnized on 22nd February 2019. The Petitioners has been staying at her paternal home since 10th April 2019 following a matrimonial discord and being the victim of domestic violence by the Opposite Party and other matrimonial relations.

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The Petitioners (wife) applied under sec. 12 and 19 of the said Act on 28th August 2019 for different reliefs available to her and under sec. 23 of the said Act praying for interim relief. The Opposite Party filed a written objection against the Petitioner’s application under Section 23 of the said Act.

The court passed an order of various interim reliefs (13th February 2020) by disposing of the application under Section 23 of the said Act and directing the Opposite Party to provide suitable accommodation to the Petitioners in the shared household if the Petitioners is willing to stay.

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The said order was challenged in appeal by the Opposite Party before the learned Sessions Judge South 24 Parganas, Alipore, wherein an order of stay of the order was passed.

Petitioners’ arguments:

The Petitioners’ (wife) being aggrieved by the stay order passed by the learned Sessions Judge, filed the instant criminal revision on the ground that the learned Sessions Judge has acted illegally and with material irregularity in staying the order passed by the learned Magistrate.

Mr. Banerjee, learned Advocate for the Petitioners pleaded that Petitioners had prayed in the application under sec. 12 read with sec. 23 and sec. 19 of the said Act.

The court passed an order directing the Opposite Party to provide suitable accommodation to the aggrieved person in the shared household if the aggrieved person is willing to stay under sub-section (2) of sec. (13). 

The Opposite Party failed to secure possession of the Petitioners in her shared household and thus, he must secure the same level of alternate accommodation or to pay rent for the same in favor of the aggrieved person.

Respondent’s arguments:

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Mr. Sandipan Ganguly learned Senior Counsel pleaded that the Petitioners in her application under sec. 12 of the said Act did not pray for her right of residence in the shared household instead she prayed for a mandatory direction upon the Opposite Party to arrange for alternate accommodation for her. But the learned Magistrate passed an order directing the Opposite Party to prove a suitable accommodation to the aggrieved person in the shared household if the aggrieved person is willing to stay.

Thus, the Opposite Party preferred Criminal Appeal No.33 of 2020, and the learned Sessions Judge granted an interim order of stay for the same.

Firstly, the Respondent pleaded that there is no illegality in the said order as no relief can be granted without any prayer being made in consonance to such relief. He also submitted that this Court while exercising revisional jurisdiction [sec. 397(1)] cannot decide the question as to whether the proposal for alternative accommodation given by the Opposite Party to the Petitioners is acceptable or not.

Further, the Respondent is not the absolute owner of the matrimonial home since it is the ancestral house of the Opposite Party and he will have to borrow money to provide alternative accommodation to his wife.

Secondly, since the aggrieved person prayed for a direction against the Opposite Party to secure the same level of alternate accommodation under Section 19(1)(f) of the said Act, but learned Magistrate passes an order under Section 17 of the said Act providing right of residence to the Petitioners in the shared household. The learned Sessions Judge in appeal stays the operation of the order till the disposal of the appeal, the nature of the order is undoubtedly an interlocutory order because it does not affect the right of the Petitioners as she did not pray for the right of residence at shared household.

Court’s observations:

The Hon’ble Justice Bibek Chaudhuri directed the learned Sessions Judge to dispose of the appeal, taking into account such facts and circumstances on whether the accommodation offered by the Opposite Party is of the same level as the accommodation available in the shared household, or that the Opposite Party is under a legal obligation to provide alternate accommodation of the same level to the Petitioners.

Judgment: 

The Hon’ble court ruled that the instant revision is not maintainable against the order impugned and accordingly dismissed on the contest, however, without cost.

Click here to view the judgment.


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