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Manmohan Attavar v. Neelam Manmohan Attavar - (Supreme Court) (14 Jul 2017)

For claiming right of residence, it is necessary that, two parties had lived in a domestic relationship in household



Appellant is 84 years old and Respondent is 62 years old. Respondent seeks to establish her status as wife/companion of Appellant who has been left high and dry by Appellant while on other hand, Appellant categorically denies any such status. Issue involved in present petition is whether an interim order could have been passed on 19.9.2016 permitting Respondent to occupy premises of Appellant and that, whether Single Judge was right in withdrawing proceedings pending before Addl. Sessions Judge to High Court vide impugned order dated 24.10.2016.

Section 17 of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, creates an entitlement in favour of woman of right of residence under "shared household" irrespective of her having any legal interests in the same. Direction, can include an order restraining dispossession or a direction to remove himself on being satisfied that domestic violence had taken place.

Facts of present case are that, Respondent has never stayed with Appellant in premises in which she has been directed to be inducted. This is an admitted position even in answer to a Court query by Respondent during course of hearing. "Domestic relationship" as defined under Section 2 (f) of D.V. Act, refers to two persons who have lived together in a "shared household". A "shared household" has been defined under Section 2(s) of D.V. Act. In order for Respondent to succeed, it was necessary that, two parties had lived in a domestic relationship in household. However, parties have never lived together in property in question. It is not as if Respondent has been subsequently excluded from enjoyment of property or thrown out by Appellant in an alleged relationship which goes back 20 years. They fell apart even as per Respondent more than 7 years ago. Till 22nd February, 2010, even wife of Appellant was alive. As per Appellant, he is a Christian and thus there could be no question of visiting any temple and marrying Respondent by applying "kumkum", and that too when wife of Appellant was alive. Supreme Court is of view that, nature of ex-parte order passed permitting Respondent to occupy premises of Appellant cannot be sustained and has to be set aside and consequently, Civil Appeal No. 2500 of 2017 is liable to be allowed.

There was no reason for proceedings to be withdrawn from appellate Court to High Court itself. There is not only absence of reason for same but, it would also result in deprivation of valuable rights of Appellant against order of an appellate authority and thus, an additional forum for scrutiny was being negated. Chief Justice of High Court is requested on administrative side to nominate any of ASJs in Bangalore to hear appeal of Respondent and appellate authority shall endeavour to conclude proceedings as expeditiously as possible. Appeals are accordingly allowed leaving parties to bear their own costs with hope that, there would be an early end to this contentious dispute between two parties.


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