Policewomen Can Be Victims of Domestic Violence: Delhi High Court:

Delhi HC, Sanghmitra v State: Rejects bias assuming policewomen immune to domestic violence due to their profession. Labels it unjust

The Delhi High Court recently talked in Sanghmitra v State, involving domestic violence, saying that even police officers can be victims of such violence.

The court disagreed with a decision by a lower court that had dropped charges against a man accused of being cruel to his wife. The lower court said both the man and his wife, who accused him, were police officers, so the charges were dismissed.

But the High Court disagreed. Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said courts shouldn't judge based on stereotypes about gender or jobs. Assuming people will always act a certain way because of their job isn't fair. Justice Sharma said it's wrong to think a police officer can't be a victim of domestic violence just because of their job.

The court also noticed something else. In this case, both the husband and wife were police officers. But the court seemed to favor the husband because he was a police officer, assuming he couldn't do anything wrong. On the other hand, the court seemed to doubt the wife's claims of being mistreated, just because she was also a police officer. The court said this was unfair and didn't consider the wife's specific allegations.

Justice Sharma also talked about "hidden biases." These are ideas we might not even realize we have but affect how we see things. The court said it's really important for judges to be fair and not let these biases influence their decisions. Assuming a woman can't be a victim of domestic violence just because she's a police officer is wrong, the court said.

This case started when a magistrate charged the husband and his family with cruelty towards the wife. But later, a sessions court disagreed and dropped the charges. The wife then appealed to the High Court.

The High Court said the sessions court made a mistake by dismissing the case just because the wife was a police officer. The lower court should have looked at the specific incidents she mentioned.

The High Court also said it's important to recognize that even women in positions of power can be victims of domestic violence. Ignoring their suffering would be unfair. And thinking that empowered women can't be victims would be a big mistake.

The court also talked about the need for judges to be trained in gender sensitivity. They suggested including this topic in the training for new judges and ongoing education for current ones.

Advocate Divjot Singh Bhatia represented the wife. The State was represented by Additional Public Prosecutor Naresh Kumar Chahar. Advocate Gautam Das represented the husband.