A single judge of Himachal Pradesh High Court as follows, regarding framing of points/issues in Domestic Violence cases.
From Para 4(iii),
Sanjeev Kumar and Ors Vs Sushma Devi on 08 Jun 2023
4(iii) In the instant case, parties led evidence in support of their respective pleadings. The record makes it apparent that the parties led their evidence without any points/issues having been framed in the matter.
Not only the points/issues were framed by the learned Trial Court in its judgment but the onus to prove such issues was also fastened upon respective parties, who were not even aware of formulation of the issues leave aside the onus to prove them. This approach was wholly erroneous. The parties were required to be made aware of the issues or the points they needed to prove in the case before directing them to lead evidence. This would have been not only in the interest of justice and fair play, but would have also provided the parties an opportunity to know the issues required to be proved by them. In accordance with provisions of the Act, demonstration by the complainant of existence of a relationship in the nature of marriage with the petitioner would have been sufficient under the Act. The complainant accordingly led her evidence. However, the learned Trial Court held the complainant could not establish that she was lawfully married to the petitioner. The complainant was not made aware of the points/issues framed by the learned Trial Court that she was required to prove her marriage with the petitioner in order to be successful in the proceedings. In case in the given facts, learned trial Court was of the view that the respondent-complainant was required to prove solemnization of her marriage with the petitioner, then the correct procedure would have been to make this issue known to the parties before ordering them to lead evidence. Framing of issues, for the first time, only in the judgment, placing burden of proving such issues on respective parties, deciding the case on the basis of such issues about which parties have not even been made aware of, is a procedure alien to well established legal and procedural conventions. It was imperative for the learned Trial Court to have framed issues/points for determination before directing the parties to lead evidence. The order passed by the learned Trial Court determining the points/issues and fixing the onus of proving those issues/points at the time of deciding the case was not in consonance with law. The order passed by the learned Trial Court was, therefore, justly interfered with by the learned First Appellate Court. The learned First Appellate Court also correctly observed that the petitioner had not signed the pleadings before the learned Trial Court. Accordingly, it gave an opportunity to the petitioner to rectify this irregularity by filing his affidavit before the learned Trial Court in support of unsigned pleadings.
Index of Domestic Violence cases is here.