The Honourable Supreme Court of India has taken a more closer look at an important portion of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. In section 2(f) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 the terms "domestic relationship" is defined. As per this section a domestic relationship means a relationship between two persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage, or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family.
Thus it is clear that one has to live in a domestic relationship in a shared household for filing application under the Act. But what if two person's just had a 'one night stand'?! Can the aggrieved person move the court
under this Act. It is clear that no time-limit is prescribed for the said relationship in the Act.
Honourable High Court of Madras in a decision 'Palani v. Meenakshi' has brought into light this exclusion in the Act. The Act does not stipulate that the parties should live or have lived together for a specific period. But one thing is clear, that for encouraging an application under Section 12, there should be a domestic relationship between the parties. In the section the expression "relationship in the nature of marriage" is used. So whatever be the span of the relationship, it should be one of marriage or in the nature of marriage.
The apex Court in a Bench presided over by Honourable Justices Markandey Katju and T.S.Thakur has rendered in a decision that all 'live-in affairs' are not to be treated as 'relationship in the nature of marriage.' The Court treated relationship mentioned in Section 2(f) with that of common law marriages. Thus there must be evidence to show that they are treated by or seen by the society as spouses. They must be of legal age to marry. They must have voluntarily cohabited.Thus the provision is much more clear as the Court has clarified the expression in 2(f) viz"relationship in the nature of marriage."