Mumbai: A Dadar magistrate court, on Monday, rejected a plea made by a 53-year-old woman seeking maintenance from a 75-year-old man with whom she had a live-in relationship in the 1980’s under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.
In her application that sought monetary, residence and compensation relief from the man, the woman said that the man was her neighbour and they had a love affair when she was in her 20’s. They had started cohabiting at a rented house and had a son in 1989. He never married her due to family pressure, she said and made her go through three abortions. The man had not disclosed to her that he was already married and did not maintain her and her child for two decades after he abandoned them in the mid-90s. She filed before the court PAN card, Aadhar card, ration card and school leaving certificate of her son in which the man is shown as the father. In her cross-examination, she said she was aware he was married and used to live with his wife.
The man said in his written reply to the court that he was married to another woman, was without children and denied the relationship with the woman and her son. He claimed that the woman had filed the plea for money and as a habitual blackmailer. He further claimed that she had multiple affairs and used to take advantage of his helping her out of sympathy that she was a widow and used to blackmail him.
The son had deposed before the court and said that the man was his father. He remembered, he said, that when he was five to six years old, the man used to come to meet them. The man had filled up information in his school application he told court and that he did not know why he had left them.
Metropolitan Magistrate BB Gaware said in his judgment that while the woman and her son have deposed, the man not only chose not to enter the witness box, he failed to cross-examine them but also failed to rebut evidence. “There is no reason to disbelieve the same (the woman and her son’s testimony). Besides, no one would come and file false complaint against person claiming live-in relationship and paternity of child.” Further, the court said it has no hesitation in drawing inference that the two had a domestic relationship.
The court, however, said that the woman has made allegation of forced abortions on the man after a lapse of 21 years and that it needs to be supported by documentary evidence. “Mere bare words of the applicant are not sufficient to prove the said allegations,” it said, and also stated that she had failed to prove the man subjected her to domestic violence. The judgment also noted that it has come on record that the two have separated 21 years before the plea was filed in 2016. There was no domestic relationship between them during the period and the plea came to be filed after a huge period.