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Vibhuti Wadhwa Sharma Vs. Krishna Sharma and Ors. - (High Court of Delhi) (17 May 2021)

Right to residence is not an indefeasible right of residence in shared household especially when the daughter-in-law is pitted against aged father-in-law and mother-in-law



In instant case, Parties to the present petition are related to each other in a way that Petitioner is the daughter-in-law and Respondents are her parents-in-law. The matrimonial dispute between petitioner-wife, with son of Respondents is the foundation of dispute inter se parties. Multiple legal proceedings are said to be pending between husband and wife but what has brought parties to this Court is the Agreement to Sell dated 18th February, 2021 entered between Respondent No. 1-mother-in-law with third party qua property, which is purportedly in her name. According to Petitioner, the property in question is a shared household property where she had lived with her husband and so, she cannot be alienated from the said property.

In the aforesaid view of the matter, Petitioner filed an application under Section 19(1)(d) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 ("DV Act") and the learned Magistrate after issuance of notice, vide order granted interim relief to Petitioner restraining the Respondents from selling or alienating the property in question. Aggrieved against the said interim order passed by the learned Magistrate, respondents herein preferred a revision petition before the Court of Sessions under Section 395/397 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), which was converted into an appeal and vide judgment, the said appeal was allowed.

Pertinently, the marriage of Petitioner with son of Respondents was solemnized on 12th December, 2013, who is an officer in Indian Air Force. It is not disputed by either side that, after marriage, Petitioner along with her husband i.e. son of Respondents, lived at the place of his postings. The fact remains that, Petitioner never resided with parents-in-laws and always stayed at the place of posting of her husband and visited them occasionally. However, it cannot be lost sight of the fact that, Petitioner had been living with her husband in 'official accommodation' at the place of his posting and she cannot claim said official accommodation as the shared household, but the element of living in 'permanency' has also to be seen.

Further, multiple legal proceedings arising out of matrimonial discord between Petitioner and her husband as well as parents-in-law are said to be pending. The intent and purpose of DV Act is to safeguard the interest of distressed women. Petitioner in her complaint filed under the DV Act has prayed for restraining the Respondents from dispossessing her or in any manner disturbing her possession from the subject property. Further, she has also prayed for an alternative accommodation.

The provisions of Section 17 of the DV Act stipulates that, every woman in a domestic relationship shall have a right to reside in the shared household whether or not she has any right, title or beneficial interest in the same. However, in the present case admittedly Petitioner has in fact neither permanently nor for a longer period resided in the house of parents-in-laws and so, it cannot be termed as 'shared household'. Thus, there is no question of evicting or dispossessing her from there. However, to safe guard the interest of petitioner the trial court, while deciding petitioner's petition under the DV Act, may pass an order to provide with an alternative accommodation to Petitioner under Section 19 (1) (f) of the DV Act.

Supreme Court in Satish Chandra Ahuja v. Sneha Ahuja observe that, the right to residence under Section 19 is not an indefeasible right of residence in shared household especially when the daughter-in-law is pitted against aged father-in-law and mother-in-law. The senior citizens in the evening of their life are also entitled to live peacefully not haunted by marital discord between their son and daughter-in-law. While granting relief both in application under Section 12 of the 2005 Act or in any civil proceedings, the Court has to balance the rights of both the parties. In view observation of the Supreme Court to the case in hand, present Court finds that, the impugned judgment suffers from no illegality or infirmity. Petition dismissed.


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