High Court affirms Rs 3-crore compensation for woman in domestic violence lawsuit

The husband has been directed to provide monthly maintenance amounting to ₹ 1.5 lakh as well.

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The Bombay High Court has upheld a trial court's decision requiring a husband to provide ₹3-crore compensation and a monthly maintenance of ₹1.5 lakh to his estranged wife, citing the impact of domestic violence on the aggrieved person as a significant factor in determining the payout quantum. 

Justice Sharmila Deshmukh, in her order dated March 22 in the domestic violence case, acknowledged that the compensation covers not only physical injuries but also mental anguish and emotional distress suffered by the woman.

According to the high court's observation, there cannot be a standard formula for compensation as each case's circumstances vary. Justice Sharmila emphasised that one of the crucial aspects to consider while determining compensation is understanding the repercussions of domestic violence on the affected individual.

The court's decision was rooted in the trial court's finding, which established a pattern of continuous domestic violence from 1994 to 2017, a judgement that the high court deemed appropriate and reasonable.

The couple initially married in Mumbai in January 1994 and later had another marriage ceremony in the USA, where they moved afterward. Their joint residence in Mumbai became a place of conflict, leading to the wife's relocation to her mother's house in 2008, while the husband returned to the US in 2014.

The wife filed a case against her husband under the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) in July 2017, alleging a history of abuse, including verbal insults and physical violence, particularly during their time in the USA. The trial court, based on substantial evidence provided by the woman and her family, ruled in her favor in January 2023.

The trial court's order mandated the husband to pay ₹3 crore as compensation, arrange suitable accommodation or provide rent, return her possessions, and allocate ₹1,50,000 monthly for maintenance. Despite the husband's appeal in the high court, the decision was upheld, emphasising the severity of the harm caused and the need for reparation considering the woman's circumstances and the impact of domestic violence on her well-being.