New Delhi: A woman can claim her rights under the law for protection from domestic violence, even while living separately from her husband and in-laws, a Delhi court has held.

Additional Sessions Judge Anju Bajaj Chandna held that so far a couple's marriage subsists, the wife cannot be denied protection and other rights under the Domestic Violence Act.

"It is not essential that on the date of filing of the complaint, the parties should have been living together and it is sufficient that they have lived together as husband and wife in the past," said the court underlining the legal condition under the Act for filing the complaint.

"In the present case, the marriage between the parties is still subsisting," said the court, setting aside an April 2011 order of a magisterial court, which had dismissed a complaint under the DV Act by an estranged housewife against her husband on the ground that she was no longer residing with him.

The court order came on an appeal against the magisterial court's order by an East Delhi woman, who was married in March 1993, but had been living separately from her husband since January 1996.

She had first moved the court under Domestic Violence Act in March 2008, seeking monetary relief and compensation from her husband besides protection from domestic violence.

"It is the duty of the magistrate to see that in view of subsistence of status of husband and wife between the parties whether the relief sought by the petitioner can be granted within the provisions of the Act," the court added.

The court directed the magistrate to "reconsider the facts of the case and proceed in accordance with law".