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'Mental harassment is never visible,' says a Mumbai court, compensation for victim of domestic violence

'Mental harassment is never visible,' says a Mumbai court, compensation for victim of domestic violence

According to the Mumbai Sessions Court, mental harassment is a mental injury that is never visible to the naked eye and must be established based on the facts and circumstances of each case. This was stated by Judge AC Daga while dismissing a Ghatkopar resident's petition challenging the compensation awarded to his wife by the Vikhroli Magistrate Court under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The couple married in June 2013, and the woman lived with her husband until September 2014. She then filed a lawsuit against the husband and his family.

The husband was ordered by the Magistrate court to pay Rs 10,000 per month in maintenance, Rs 5,000 per month in rent for alternate housing, and Rs 1,000,000 in compensation for domestic violence. The husband told the Sessions Court that his wife did not require the rent because she worked and lived with her parents. He also claimed that because there was no domestic violence, the compensation order was invalid. He went on to say that there is no medical evidence that she was beaten.

The Sessions Court observed that the wife was subjected to mental and physical harassment by her husband and his family. The court added, “It is not always that injuries on the woman’s body can be seen because immediately after the assault, they normally do not go for medical tests or are not allowed to go for medical tests by their in-laws.”

“In this matter, ample evidence has been given by the respondent (wife) to show that she was subjected to mental and physical harassment by the appellants (husband and family),” the court said. The husband was also alleged to suffer from erectile dysfunction. Although the husband denied it, the court said, “It becomes the duty of the appellant (husband) to lead appropriate evidence to nullify the allegations. No evidence has been laid down,” said the court.

The wife also claimed that when she touched the husband on October 12, 2014, he pushed and slapped her, causing her nose to bleed. The husband denied it, claiming that his mother had cataract surgery on October 9, so the assault did not take place. The court, however, stated that there was no evidence to show that the mother was still in the hospital on October 12, 2014, as a cataract patient is typically discharged on the day of surgery.

According to the court, there is plenty of evidence that she was subjected to domestic violence. The wife also stated that she had no source of income, whereas the husband had a monthly income of Rs 35,000, was a partner in a firm with 50% ownership, and had purchased a flat for Rs 25,00,000. 'It was the husband's responsibility to keep the wife at the same standard of living,' she said.

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