Women cant claim In-laws Property

IN THE COURT OF Dr. KAMINI LAU
ADDL. SESSIONS JUDGE ­II (NORTH­WEST)
ROHINI COURTS: DELHI

CA No. 62/2013

Chetna Kapoor
W/o Dheeraj Kapoor
Permanent Resident of 253, 3rd Floor
Rajdhani Enclave, Pitampura, Delhi.
Presently at: 7/11, Tilak Nagar, Delhi……………… Appellant

Versus

Suman Bala Kapur
W/o Subhash Chander Kapoor
R/o H. No. 253, 3rd Floor
Rajdhani Enclave, Pitampura, Delhi. …………….. Respondent

6.11.2013

ORDER

Present: Sh. Vivek Aggarwal, Advocate with appellant.

(1) This appeal under Section 29 of the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005, has been filed against the order of Ld. MM dated 7.10.2013 dismissing the application filed on behalf of the appellant dated 25.6.2013 for modification / alteration of order dated 4.6.2013 on the ground that the respondent has abused and misused the process of law by making false submissions which are contrary to the pleadings given by the respondent in her petition under Section 12 of DV Act, and obtained the order dated 4.6.2013. It is pleaded that the Ld. Trial Court has totally ignored the report of the protection officer holding that the appellant had been residing at the above said premises with the respondent which fact was not disclosed by the respondent while obtaining the order dated 4.6.2013. It s further pleaded that the judgment of the Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Nitu Mittal Vs. Kanta Mittal & Ors., 152 (2008) DLT 691, was not applicable to the facts and circumstances of the present case since the respondent has no absolute power to throw out the appellant from the share household accommodation and there is no justified and lawful grounds for the withdrawal of the benefits given to her. It is alleged that by their acts, the respondent have taken away appellant’s valuable right to lead her life with dignity, honour and reputation. It is pleaded that the order dated 7.10.2013 is contrary to the letter and spirit and intention of the legislature in Section 2 (s) which defines the share household accommodation and also to the provisions of Section 2 (f) which defines the domestic relationship. It is submitted that the Ld. Trial Court has failed to exercise its judicial power and discretion judiciously and totally ignored the material facts and the acts of the respondent is sheer misuse and abuse of process of law. It is also submitted that the Ld. Trial Court has failed to appreciate that the respondent in collusion and connivance of her son has dispossessed the appellant from the share household accommodation on 24.5.2013 and when she returned from the job she saw the locks on the share household accommodation i.e. house no. 253, 3rd Floor, Pitampura and hence the dishonest and fraudulent conduct on the part of the respondent totally disentitled her for claiming any release form the court and hence it is prayed that the impugned order dated 7.10.2013 passed by the Ld. Trial Court be set aside.

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(2) After going through the impugned order and the grounds raised before me, no notice has been issued to the respondent as no requirement for the same was felt.

(3) At the very outset I may observe that I may observe that the Protection from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 covers those women who are or have been in a relationship with the abuser where both parties have lived together in a shared household and are related by consanguinity, marriage or a relationship in the nature of marriage, or adoption; in addition relationship with family members living together as a joint family are also included. “Domestic violence” includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse that is physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic. One of the most important features of the Act is the woman’s right to secure housing. The Act provides for the woman’s right to reside in the matrimonial or shared household. This is an act meant to save a women from destitution. Under these circumstances the Courts of Law are under obligations to ensure that while dealing with the rights of the parties, the rights of daughter ­in­law are equitably balanced with the rights of other women which include the mother-­in-­law, as happened in the present case.

(4) It is not disputed that the property in question is owned by the respondent/ mother-­in-­law who is the owner in possession of the said property bearing No. 253, 3rd Floor, Rajdhani Enclave, Pitampura, Delhi. It has not been disputed that the respondent Suman Bala Kapur and her husband i.e. the parents­-in­laws of the appellant are the registered and exclusive owners of the above said property vide registered sale deed dated 16.6.2010 whereas her husband Dheeraj has no share in the same.

(5) The husband of the appellant i.e. Dr.Dheeraj Kapoor is working and residing separately at Chandigarh for the past several years. The matrimonial house of the appellant under the given circumstances is the place where her husband is working and residing and not where she herself chose to reside of her free will.

(6) It is also not disputed that the appellant Chetna Kapoor is herself a doctor in a Government hospital and is drawing House Rent Allowance. Hence, under the given circumstances the argument of the appellant that by her acts the respondent (mother­-in­-law) has allegedly taken away the constitutional rights of appellant to live with dignity, honour and reputation is devoid of merits. The Right of a daughter in law does not over­ride the constitutional and statutory rights of her parents­-in-­law to enjoy their self acquired property in the manner they want. If it is anybody from whom she is entitled to relief, it is her husband Dr. Dheeraj Kapoor and her parents-­in-­law who are the senior citizens cannot be held liable for any kind of burdens. Here, I totally agree with the view taken by the Ld. MM which is in confirmation with the observations made in the case of Neetu Mittal Vs. Kanta Mittal & Ors., wherein the Hon’ble Apex Court has observed as under:

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“……… where the house is self acquired house of parents, son whether married or unmarried has no legal right to live in that house or he can live in that only at the mercy of parents upto the time parents allow. Merely because parents have allowed him to live in house so long as his relations with the parents are cordial, does not mean that the parents have to bear his burden throughout the life. The parents cannot be forced to keep a son or daughter in law with them nor there is any statutory provision which compels parents to suffer because of the acts of residence and his son or daughter in law. A woman has her rights of maintenance against her husband as sons/daughters. She can assert her rights, if any, against the property of her husband but she cannot thrust herself against the wishes of parents of her husband nor can claim a right to live in the house of parents of her husband, against their consult and wishes …….”

(7) The Hon’ble Apex Court while being confronted with a similar situation in the case of S.R. Batra Vs. Smt. Taruna Batra reported in AIR 2007 SC 1118(1) had an occasion to deal with the same wherein it observed that there was no law in India similar to the law in UK i.e. British Matrimonial Homes Act 1967 and that the Rights available to a woman under any law can only be against the husband and not against the father-in-law and mother-in-law. In the said case the Hon’ble Supreme court had also observed that the house in question belonged to the mother in law and therefore the daughter in law cannot claim any right to live in the said house. In the said case the Hon’ble Apex Court was of the opinion that the house in question cannot be said to be a shared household within the meaning of Section 2(s) of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. The Hon’ble Apex Court was also of the view that the Definition of ‘Shared Household’ in Section 2 (s) was not happily worded and appeared to be a result of clumsy drafting and hence an interpretation which is sensible and does not lead to a chaos in the society as to be given.

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(8) By application of the logic and ratio of the Hon’ble Apex Court to the facts of the present case, I hereby hold that the appellant Dr. Chetna Kapoor is only entitled to claim the Right of residence in a shared household which shared household as contemplated under Section 2 (s) of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act would mean the house belonging to or taken on rent by her husband or the house which belong to the joint family of which the husband is a member. In the present case, the property in question i.e. 253, 3rd Floor, Rajdhani Enclave, Pitampura, Delhi is the exclusive property of the respondent who is the mother-in-law of the appellant with the husband Dheeraj Kapoor having no share in the same and hence the property in question in respect of which the appellant is seeking Right of Residence cannot be called a shared household within the meaning of Section 2 (s) of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.

(9) Assuming for a moment that the appellant was permitted by her parents-­in­-law to live in the house, it does not create any legal right the violation of which would be actionable rather on the contrary under no circumstances the parents can be made to suffer the burdens of their sons and their estranged daughter ­in­ laws. If it is anybody against whom or against whose property she can assert her rights, is the husband but under no circumstances can she thrust herself on the parents of her husband or can claim a right to live on their house against their consult and wishes.

(10) Lastly, keeping in view the problems and the disputes which have arisen between the parties and considering the background that the respondent is herself a working lady and in a position to maintain herself being doctor in Government Hospital, drawing House Rent Allowance, allowing her to reside in the premises of her parents-­in-­law against their wishes will only aggravate the existing domestic problems and create numerous hassles for these senior citizens, which this court will not permit.

(11) In view of my above discussion, I hereby hold that the impugned order dated 7.10.2013 passed by Ld. Trial Court warrants no interference.The appeal is devoid of merits and is hereby dismissed. Copy of this order be placed before the Ld. Trial Court. Appeal file be consigned to Record Room.

Announced in the open Court

(Dr. KAMINI LAU)
Dated: 6.11.2013 ASJ (NW)­II: ROHINI

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