Supreme Court of India

Woman has the right to stay at estranged in-law’s home, says Supreme Court

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On Thursday, the Supreme Court of India said that a woman has the right to reside in her in-law’s home or better to say with her husband’s family even after being estranged from her husband. This decision came in after the overruling its own decision which was made on the contrary. The apex court said that the husband’s family cannot evict an estranged daughter in law and that she has the right to stay in that house under the Domestic Violence Act. The bench comprised of Justices Ashik Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah.
The court said that Domestic Violence is rampant in the country and that everyday some woman or other faces Domestic Violence in some form or another. It also added that under such circumstances, a woman surrenders herself to the never ending cycle of undergoing the violence and discrimination as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a partner or a single woman throughout her lifetime.
The judgement has dismissed an appeal filed by one Satish Chander Ahuja in order to challenge a 2019 judgement given by the Delhi High Court, in which the High Court said that Satish Chander Ahuja’s daughter-in-law Sneha Ahuja had the right to live in her in-law’s house even though she was in the process of divorce from her husband Raveen Ahuja. Satish Ahuja had filed the appeal saying that his son had no share in the house and that he has self-earned all his property.
When the Section 2 (shared household) and Section 17 (right of residence) under the Domestic Violence Act, the bench said that the definition which is given in the section 2(s) of the said act cannot be read to mean that shared household can only be that household of joint family of which husband is a member or in which husband of the aggrieved person has a share. The court has also rejected the Satish Ahuja’s appeal that his son had no share in the property at the posh New Friends Colony area of Delhi.
The section 2(s) of the Domestic Violence Act says that a shared household means that a household is where the person aggrieved lives or at any stage had lived in a domestic relationship either singly or along with the respondent and includes such a household whether owned or tenanted by either of them in respect of which either the aggrieved person or the respondent or both jointly or singly had any right, title, interest or equity and included such a household which may belong to the joint family of which the respondent is a member, irrespective of whether the respondent or the aggrieved person had any right, title or interest in the shared house.
The Section 17 of the Domestic Violence Act, says that right to reside in a shared household- (1) Not withstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, every woman in a domestic relationship shall have the right to reside in the shared household, whether or not she has any right, title or beneficial interest in the same. (2) The aggrieved person shall not be evicted or excluded from the shared household or any part of it by the respondent save in accordance with the procedure established by law.Woman has the right to stay at estranged in-law’s home, says SC

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