V. D. Bhanot vs. Savita Bhanot

V.D. Bhanot and Savita Bhanot were married in 1980 and lived together until 2005. In 2006, Savita Bhanot filed a petition for various reliefs under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (PWDVA). She sought monetary relief from her husband, and the protection of her right to reside in her matrimonial home, both of which she was entitled to under PWDVA.

The main question that arose in this petition was whether or not Savita Bhanot was entitled to maintain a petition under the provisions of PWDVA if the act of domestic violence in question occurred before PWDVA was enacted. In consideration of the intention behind PWDVA, the Delhi High Court held that she was in fact eligible for the benefits it provides, despite the fact that the relevant act of domestic violence occurred before its enactment.

This case is also notable for the fact that the court interpreted “domestic violence” liberally in favor of Savita Bhanot. Specifically, it held that forcing Savita Bhanot to live alone in rented accommodation that she did not feel safe in constituted an act of domestic violence, and thus was considered illegal in view of PWDVA.