Right of residence in ‘shared household’ under Domestic Violence Act can be claimed only against husband and not father-in-law

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of R.K. Gauba, J. dismissed a petition filed by the petitioner-wife for a right to possession in the house owned by her father-in-law.

The wife had filed a suit under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 impleading her husband and father-in-law. Concededly, the wife lived with her son in a portion of the house which was owned by the father-in-law. The wife submitted that she was allowed to live in the said house under a family arrangement. She claimed a right to possession in the shared household under the Act. The question that arose for consideration was whether the property in question or any portion thereof could be described under the facts and circumstances as a shared household?

The High Court perused Section 2(s) of the Act which describes a shared household. It was conceded at the bar that right of residence under the above mentioned special legislation can be claimed and pressed only against the husband and not against the father-in-law. It was observed as inherent in definition of shared household that the person against whom the right of residence is claimed qua the household described as such, should have a right, title or interest therein. In the facts of the present case, it was held that the wife has no such right of residence, as her claim which was through her husband could not be sustained. The partition suit filed by the husband against his father as also the claim brought through her son had already been rejected by the civil court which had attained finality. It was held that the petitioner was only a permissive user of the house and as such could not force herself on the owner of the property, particularly when she had no vested or legal right to claim residence in his property. For reaching the said conclusion, the Court relied on the Supreme Court decision in S.R. Batra v. Taruna Batra, (2007) 3 SCC 169. The petition was accordingly dismissed. [Manju Gupta v. Pankaj Gupta,2018 SCC OnLine Del 11337, Order dated 30-08-2018]

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