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New Delhi: “A matrimonial dispute a woman cannot seek protection from her in-laws under the Domestic Violence Act if they live separately from the couple,” mentioned by the Delhi High court here.

The court, however, said if the woman faced any kind of violence or harassment from her in-laws, who live far distance from the couple, she can seek relief under various sections of the IPC but not under the DV Act.

“The domestic violence can take place only when one is living in shared household with the respondents. The acts of abuses, emotional or economic, physical or sexual… If committed when one is living in the same shared household constitute domestic violence. However, such acts of violence can be committed even otherwise also when one is living separate.

“When such acts of violence take place when one is living separate, these may be punishable under different provisions of IPC or other penal laws, but, they cannot be covered under the DV Act,” Justice G P Mittal said on the plea of an Indian-origin UK resident seeking protection under DV Act against her husband as well as her in-laws.

“Only violence committed by a person while living in the shared household can constitute domestic violence. A person may be threatening another person 100 miles away on telephone or by messages etc. This may amount to an offence under IPC, but, this cannot amount to domestic violence.

“Similarly, emotional blackmail, economic abuse…can take place even when persons are living miles away. Such abuses are not covered under the DV Act but they are liable to be punished under penal laws. Domestic violence is a violence which is committed when parties are in domestic relationship, sharing same household and sharing all the household goods with an opportunity to commit violence,” court observed.

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