In its decision in “Satish Chander Ahuja Vs Sneha Ahuja” Civil Appeal No. 2483/2020, the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that the rights of the woman in capacity of daughter-in-law for residence order in the property, exclusively owned by her father-in-law subject to the house being a shared household in which the daughter in law has lived in a domestic relationship with the father-in-law.
The Act grants no title or property rights to the individual who has been wronged. It just guarantees the complainant’s ‘right of residence’ in the’shared home.’ The law ensures that a woman who is the victim of domestic abuse has a safe place to live. As a result, it grants her the right to dwell in a building where she has lived in a domestic relationship with her husband’s parents or siblings. The entire purpose of the Act is to offer prompt remedy to the aggrieved party in relation to the shared home in which she lives or has resided. However, if her spouse or she does not own the property in issue, she has no claim to it.
WHAT EXACTLY IS A “SHARED HOUSEHOLD”?
Section 2(s) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005 (“Act”) defines the word. The right to residency granted by the Act to women who have been evicted from their homes or are barred from entering them has been envisioned exclusively in the context of a “shared household.” As a result, it is safe to say that, according to the Act, a shared household would be a house in which the aggrieved person has lived or has at any stage lived alongside the respondent in a domestic relationship, i.e. a relationship between two members who have lived together because they are related by consanguinity (by blood), marriage or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption, or are family members.
WHAT ABOUT THE AGED IN-LAWS OF THE COMPLAINANT?
In its decision, the Supreme Court further stressed that the right to residency is not an inalienable right of residence in a shared home, particularly when the daughter-in-law is pitted against an elderly father-in-law and mother-in-law. “Senior persons in their latter years have the right to live happily and without being tormented by marital strife between their son and daughter-in-law,” it stated. As a result, the bench has decided that while adjudicating such instances, a court must balance the interests of both parties.
The Supreme Court has emphasised that father-in-law and mother-in-law, who are generally older individuals, have the right to live happily and without being tormented by the marital strife between their son and daughter-in-law. As a result, when determining such petitions, the Court is obligated to balance the rights of the parties.
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