Wife’s right of residence in shared household not permanent: HC – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/legal/will/wifes-right-of-residence-in-shared-household-not-permanent-hc/articleshow/89938081.cms

Synopsis

Dismissing a plea against eviction by an estranged wife living with her in-laws, the court said, “Admittedly, the right of residence under the Domestic Violence Act is not an indefeasible right of residence in a shared household, especially, when the daughter-in-law is pitted against the aged father-in-law and mother-in-law.”

(This story originally appeared inon Mar 02, 2022)

New Delhi: The right of residence of a wife in a shared household is not permanent if the property is owned by the in-laws who wish to evict her, Delhi High Court has said.

Dismissing a plea against eviction by an estranged wife living with her in-laws, the court said, “Admittedly, the right of residence under the Domestic Violence Act is not an indefeasible right of residence in a shared household, especially, when the daughter-in-law is pitted against the aged father-in-law and mother-in-law.”

Justice Yogesh Khanna further noted that the in-laws in the current case were “senior citizens, aged about 74 and 69 years, and being in the evening of their life, are entitled to live peacefully and not to be haunted by the marital discord between their son and daughter-in-law”.

The high court, however, made it clear that until an alternative accommodation was provided to the wife by her husband, she won’t be evicted from the house as per the provisions of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.

The woman’s plea said that as a legally wedded wife, she had been living with her two minor daughters in one room with an attached bathroom and a balcony in the suit property, owned by her father-in-law. She further claimed that the property was bought from joint family funds and from the sale proceeds of the ancestral property of the father-in-law, and hence, it was a joint family property in which she also had a right to reside.

However, the trial court had held that the property was a self-acquired one by the father-in-law and she was residing in it as his daughter-in-law, and once the in-laws didn’t wish to keep her, she had no right to stay there. The wife challenged the decree of possession passed against her.

The high court noted that the parties were residing in a flat, even while filing various complaints against each other, which revealed that their relations were not cordial. It wondered if in such circumstances, it would “be appropriate for them to stay together and fight every minute of their existence”, and upheld the trial court’s decision, while noting that the husband had never staked his claim to the property.

“Where the residence is a shared household, it does not create any embargo upon the owner to claim eviction against his daughter-in-law. A strained frictional relationship between the parties would be relevant to decide whether the grounds of eviction exist,” the judge said, adding, “since there exists a frictional relationship between the parties, then at the fag end of their lives, it would not be advisable for the old parents to stay with the appellant.”

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