Article 227 Petition Maintainable Against Domestic Violence Act Proceedings : Madras High Court
The Madras High Court has ruled that a petition under Article 227 of the Constitution can be filed to have the Domestic Violence Act proceedings quashed. Regardless of whether the DV Act process is civil or criminal in nature, powers under Article 227 of the Constitution are available against it, according to a single bench led by Justice GR Swaminathan. The court noted that Article 227 is "forum-neutral," meaning that it does not distinguish between civil and criminal courts. In other words, the power conferred by Article 227 can be exerted over both civil and criminal courts. The power granted by Article 227 of the Constitution is unassailable. In light of this, I hold that, regardless of whether the proceedings under Central Act 43 of 2005 are civil or criminal, the ability under Article 227 of the Constitution to quash the proceedings will always reside if a case is truly made out, Justice Swaminathan wrote in his order. The bench was examining a plea filed under Article 227 of the Constitution, which sought to have the Domestic Violence Act proceedings quashed. The Court's Registry refused to number the petition, claiming that it was not maintainable under Article 227. As a result, the petitioners' lawyer, Advocate PM Vishnuvarhanan, addressed the court. The matter was referred to the bench for a decision on the issue of maintainability. The Registry's reluctance to number the petition was based on a disagreement indicated in two decisions about the nature of proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act, according to the bench. In the matter of Dr.P.Pathmanathan and others v. V.Monica and others (2021 (2) CTC57), Justice Anand Venkatesh found that the proceedings under the DV Act are civil in character, and hence a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure could not be filed against it. The question before Justice Swaminathan was not whether the proceedings were civil or criminal in nature. Article 227 could be used against them regardless of the nature of the proceedings because superintendence powers are "forum-neutral." The Registry should not have kept the plea unnumbered for such a long time, Justice Swaminathan added. In this regard, the High Court's decision in P.Surendran v. State by Inspector of Police was cited, in which it was said that the Registry cannot resolve the issue of maintainability because it is a judicial role.