Daughter-in-law has Right to Live in her in-Laws’ house under the Domestic Violence Act: Supreme Court [Read Judgement]

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The Supreme Court in a historic verdict on Thursday said that the daughter-in-law has the right to live in her husband’s parents’ house under the Domestic Violence Act.

The three-judge bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said that, “The definition of shared household as noticed in Section 2(s) does not indicate that a shared household shall be one which belongs to or taken on rent by the husband. We have noticed the definition of “respondent” under the Act. The respondent in a proceeding under Domestic Violence Act can be any relative of the husband.

In event, the shared household belongs to any relative of the husband with whom in a domestic relationship the woman has lived, the conditions mentioned in Section 2(s) are satisfied and the said house will become a shared household.

The new order reverses the previous verdict made by the SC in S.R. Batra Vs.Taruna Batra (supra) which had observed that the wife was entitled to a shared household only where the person aggrieved lives or at any stage had lived in a domestic relationship.

The Court observed that this court in S.R. Batra Vs. Taruna Batra (supra) although noticed the definition of shared household as given in Section 2(s) but did not advert to different parts of the definition which makes it clear that for a shared household there is no such requirement that the house may be owned singly or jointly by the husband or taken on rent by the husband.

The bench held that

  1. The definition of shared household given in Section 2(s) cannot be read to mean that shared household can only be that household which is household of the joint family of which husband is a member or in which husband of the aggrieved person has a share.
  2. The judgment of this Court in S.R. Batra Vs. Taruna Batra (supra) has not correctly interpreted Section 2(s) of Act, 2005 and the judgment does not lay down a correct law.  

Read Judgement here: