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Non-compliance of maintenance orders not grounds for criminal proceedings: Delhi HC

IANS | December 05, 2023 03:06 PM

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has ruled that a person cannot be summoned under Section 31 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, for non-compliance with an order for payment of maintenance.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said that the focus of the Act is to provide immediate and effective relief to victims of domestic violence through maintenance or interim maintenance orders, rather than initiating criminal proceedings for non-payment.

The court quashed a summoning order against a husband issued by the trial court under Section 31(1) of the Act for alleged non-compliance with monetary relief or interim maintenance.

The complainant, the wife, claimed that despite judicial orders granting her interim maintenance, the husband failed to comply, warranting summoning under the Act and Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.

Justice Sharma clarified that the non-compliance with monetary relief, including maintenance or interim maintenance orders, should be addressed under Section 20(6) of the Act and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

The court said that the purpose is to provide monetary sustenance to the victim rather than pursuing the incarceration of the alleged aggressor.

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