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Judgments of Supreme Court of India and High Courts

Sneha Ahuja vs Satish Chander Ahuja on 18 December, 2019

* IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
Reserved on:- 10.10.2019.
Date of Decision:- 18.12.2019.

+ RFA 222/2019
AMBIKA JAIN ….. Appellant
Through: Ms.Malavika Rajkotia with Ms.Rytim
Vohra, Advs.
versus

RAM PRAKASH SHARMA ANR ….. Respondents
Through: Mr.Kotla Harshavardhan with
Ms.Aparna Arun, Advs. for R-1.
Mr.Arshdeep Singh with Mr.Aditya
Chopra, Advs. for R-2.

+ RFA 230/2019 C.M. No.12833/2019 (for stay)
NEHA GROVER ….. Appellant
Through: Mr.Pradeep Singh, Adv.

versus

OM PRAKASH GROVER ….. Respondent
Through: Mr. Mohit Batra, Adv. with Mr.Saket
Gakhar, Adv.

+ RFA 381/2019 C.M. Nos.19599/2019 (for stay), 19601/2019 (for
addl. doc.)

SNEHA AHUJA ….. Appellant
Through: Mr. J.P. Sengh, Sr.Adv.
Mr.Prashant Mehta with
Mr.Himanshu Kapoor Ms.Divita
Vyas, Advs.
versus

SATISH CHANDER AHUJA ….. Respondent
Through: Ms.Geeta Luthra, Sr. Adv. with

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 1 of 66
Mr.Altamish Siddiki, Mr.Prateek
Yadav, Mr.Anshul Duggal,
Ms.Anjana Ahluwalia, Ms.Asmita
Narula, Ms.Kamakshi Gupta
Ms.Shivani Luthra Lohiya, Advs.

+ RFA 598/2019 C.M. No.29599/2019 (for stay)
RUPALI KHULLAR ….. Appellant
Through: Mr.Rajeev Nanda Mr.R.K.
Kashyap, Advs.
versus
TARSEM LAL KHULLAR ORS ….. Respondents
Through: Mr.Shyam Sunder Khullar, Adv. for
R-2.
Mr.P.C. Thakur, Adv. for R-2 LRs
of R-3 4.

+ RFA 604/2019 C.M. No.29735/2019 (for stay)
BINDYA GROVER ….. Appellant
Through: Ms.Sunieta Ojha with Mr.Talish Ray
Ms.Monisha Handa, Advs.
versus

SUDARSHAN GROVER ….. Respondent
Through: Mr.Jatan Singh with Mr.Anish
Chawla Mr.Neeraj Kumar, Advs.

+ RFA 609/2019 C.M. No.30047/2019 (for stay)
RENU KUMARI ….. Appellant
Through: None.
versus
GYANTI DEVI ….. Respondent
Through: Mr.Amitesh Gaurav, Adv.

CORAM:
HON’BLE MS. JUSTICE REKHA PALLI

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 2 of 66
JUDGMENT

REKHA PALLI, J

1. The daughter-in-law or the mother-in-law/father-in-law, who is right
or whose right should prevail over the right of the other: is a dilemma
which husbands all over the world have been facing since time
immemorial; today in this batch of appeals under Section 96 of the Code
of Civil Procedure, 1908 („CPC‟ for short), this Court is faced with the
same question. The appellants herein are daughters-in-law who, with their
husbands and children, have been residing in the premises which, as on
date, are owned by the respondents, who are their mothers-in-law, fathers-
in-law or both, as the case may be (hereinafter referred to as „in-laws‟). In
each of these appeals, the appellant/daughter-in-law is aggrieved by the
decree of possession passed under Order XII Rule 6 CPC by the trial
Court in favour of her in-laws, upon an admission made by her regarding
their title over the suit premises. While the daughter-in-law claims that
she has a statutory right to reside in the suit premises which may be in the
name of her in-laws, as it is her shared household under Section 2(s) of
the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 („DV Act‟
for short), irrespective of whether it is a joint family property or not, the
claim of the in-laws is that the suit premises is not a shared household and
therefore the appellant/daughters-in-law have no right, under the DV Act,
to reside therein. The alternative submissions of the respondents is that in
any event the right of residence, if any, available to the appellant under
the D.V. Act, being transient in nature, cannot stand in the way of the true
owner from seeking possession in accordance with the procedure
established by law, i.e., by instituting a suit for title, possession and

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 3 of 66
eviction before a civil court on the basis of the title documents in their
favour.

2. As all these appeals are arising out of similar facts and raise identical
issues, they are being decided by this common judgment. For the sake of
convenience, this judgment refers to the competent court under the DV
Act in all these appeals as „the DV Court‟.

Facts

3. Before delving into the issues arising in the appeals, it would be
apposite to briefly note the factual matrix of each case:

a. In RFA No. 222/2019, the daughter-in-law assails the judgment and
decree dated 31.10.2018 passed by the learned Additional District Judge,
Saket Court in CS No. 810/2017 whereunder the suit instituted by her
father-in-law has been decreed by directing her husband/respondent no.2
and her to hand over vacant and peaceful possession of the suit premises
to him and to pay mesne profits for the period during which they were in
illegal occupation of these premises. The case of the father-in-law
before the trial Court was that since 2005 his son, i.e., the husband of the
appellant, had been residing as a licensee in the suit premises, where the
appellant joined him after their wedding on 18.12.2009. When marital
discord arose between the appellant and her husband in 2015, the
husband vacated the suit premises and rented a separate accommodation
while the appellant continued residing in the suit premises.
Contesting the suit, the appellant while admitting that the suit
premises were owned by her in-laws urged that the alleged tenancy of
her husband on the suit premises was a ruse by him to avoid incurring

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 4 of 66
tax liability on the House Rent Allowance which he received and could
not, therefore, be treated as a legitimate tenancy. She further urged, by
referring to the pending domestic violence proceedings instituted by her
under the DV Act against her husband and in-laws, that she had a right
to reside in the suit premises as it was her shared household. On facts,
she pleaded having incurred expenses on making structural changes to
the suit premises and claimed that she and her husband had been residing
there virtually as owners thereof. Without prejudice to her defences, she
expressed her willingness to pay to the respondent the arrears of rent
w.e.f. September 2016 but reiterated that the suit was a pressure tactic
adopted by the respondents in order to coerce her into settling the
domestic violence proceedings. An application under Order XII Rule 6
CPC was moved by the father-in-law considering the appellant‟s
admission regarding his ownership over the suit property. On the
aforesaid application, the trial Court, despite the appellant‟s plea that her
right of residence under Section 17 of the DV Act ought to be protected
especially in view of the interim protection granted in her favour by the
DV Court, passed the impugned decree. As Section 17 of the DV Act
stipulates that the daughter-in-law‟s right of residence in the suit
premises was subject to her dispossession as per the procedure
established by law, the trial Court held that the suit filed by her father-in-
law fulfilled this condition.

b. The facts of RFA No. 230/2019 are almost similar except that there is
no specific admission made therein by the daughter-in-law with respect
to the ownership of the suit premises. The impugned order dated

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 5 of 66
21.02.2019 in CS No. 1369/2017 has been passed by the learned
Additional District Judge, Tis Hazari Court by allowing the respondent‟s
application under Order XII Rule 6 CPC. Before the trial Court, the
father-in-law contended that his son and daughter-in-law were his
gratuitous licensees pursuant to their marriage in 2007, which license
was terminated when marital discord arose between them compelling
him to institute the subject suit. While opposing the suit, the daughter-in-
law pleaded that inter-alia the suit itself was collusive, the suit premises
was her shared household under the DV Act, a separate right thereon
devolved on her through her husband as the premises was a joint family
property and a residence order had been passed in her favour in the
domestic violence proceedings instituted by her against her husband and
the in-laws. The trial Court decreed the suit by holding that in view of
the specific documents placed on record by the father-in-law to prove
that the suit premises was his self-acquired property, the appellant‟s bald
denials as regards the ownership of the suit premises could not hold
ground; it was further held that the residence order in favour of the
daughter-in-law was not absolute and was subject to her dispossession as
per the procedure established by law, which condition was fulfilled by
the institution of a suit. In these circumstances, the impugned decree
came to be passed.

c. In RFA 381/2019 the daughter-in-law assails the judgment and decree
dated 08.04.2019 passed by the learned Additional District Judge, Saket
in CS No. 792/2017 whereunder the suit for possession and mesne
profits instituted against her by her father-in-law has been decreed in his

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 6 of 66
favour. His case before the trial Court was that his son and daughter-in-
law were his gratuitous licensees pursuant to their marriage in 1995,
which license was terminated when marital discord arose between the
two parties. As a result, his son rented a separate accommodation and
left the suit premises but his daughter-in-law continued residing therein
compelling him to institute the subject suit. While opposing the suit the
daughter-in-law pleaded that her husband did in fact reside in the suit
premises and that she jointly owned these premise which, even though
stood exclusively in the name of her father-in-law, had been purchased
from joint family funds and was her shared household – which claim
could be corroborated by the residence order passed in her favour by the
DV Court. An application under Order XII Rule 6 CPC was moved by
the father-in-law considering the admission regarding his ownership of
the suit premises. On the aforesaid application the trial Court, despite her
plea that her right of residence ought to be protected, held that the
daughter-in-law‟s right of residence was subject to her dispossession as
per the procedure established by law and the institution of the suit for
possession by her father-in-law satisfied this condition.

d. In RFA 598/2019 the daughter-in-law assails the judgment and decree
dated 15.04.2019 passed by the learned Additional District Judge,
Rohini in CS No. 598/2015 whereunder the suit for possession instituted
against her by her in-laws has been decreed in their favour by allowing
their application under Order XII Rule 6 CPC. Before the trial court the
in-laws claimed that their daughter-in-law, after marrying their son on
14.09.2002, began residing with them at their self-acquired property as

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 7 of 66
gratuitous licensees, which license was revoked when marital discord
arose between the two parties. The in-laws even claimed to have
disowned and severed relations with their son vide newspaper
publications. In her reply to the plaint the daughter-in-law, while
admitting that her in-laws owned the suit premises, claimed that she had
a right to reside therein being her shared household; however, in the
light of her admission, the impugned order came to be passed by the trial
Court.

e. In RFA 604/2019, the daughter-in-law assails the order dated
28.03.2019 passed by the learned Additional District Judge,
Karkardooma Courts in CS No. 33/2017 whereunder the suit for
possession, permanent injunction, damages and mesne profits instituted
by her mother-in-law was decreed against her by allowing the
respondent‟s application under Order XII Rule 6 CPC. Before the trial
Court the respondent contended that the appellant, after marrying her
son on 13.12.2002 began residing at the suit premises, which was her
self-acquired property. However, marital discord arose between the
appellant and her husband even leading to the institution of divorce
proceedings in 2010 which was later withdrawn in the interest of their
minor child, but the appellant never left the suit premises. The appellant
contested the maintainability of the application under Order XII Rule 6
CPC moved by the respondent on the grounds that she had made no
unequivocal admission as to the respondent‟s ownership of the suit
premises and that by virtue of the monetary contributions made by her
towards developing the premises, she was an owner thereof. The trial

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 8 of 66
Court, however, passed the impugned judgment holding that while the
appellant did not admit the respondent‟s ownership of the suit premises
but she did not specifically deny it either.

f. Similarly in RFA 609/2019, the daughter-in-law assails the order
dated 29.03.2019 passed by the learned Additional District Judge, Saket
in CS No. 685/2018 whereunder the suit for ejectment and recovery of
possession instituted against her by her mother-in-law, was decreed in
favour of the latter by allowing her application under Order XII Rule 6
CPC. Before the trial Court the mother-in-law claimed that her daughter-
in-law, began residing with her son at the suit premises as gratuitous
licensee after the solemnisation of their marriage and that, when marital
discord arose between the two parties, she disowned them vide a
newspaper publication. Resultantly, her son had left the suit premises to
reside in a separate rented accommodation while her daughter-in-law
continued residing therein without any right, compelling her to institute
the subject suit. In opposition, the daughter-in-law pleaded that as the
suit premises was her shared household, she had a right to reside therein.
The trial Court, however, by relying on the appellant‟s admissions in the
pleadings of the subject suit and the affidavit filed by her in the domestic
violence proceedings that the suit premises was owned by her mother-in-
law, passed the impugned order.

4. To sum up, in each of the decrees impugned by way of these
appeals, the trial Courts have held that since the suit premises were,
admittedly, owned by the in-laws and stood in their exclusive names, the
in-laws were entitled to a decree for possession in their favour under

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 9 of 66
Order XII Rule 6 CPC itself, without compelling them to await final
adjudication of the suit after a prolonged trial.

Submissions on behalf of the appellants/daughters-in-law

5. Mr. J.P. Sengh, learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the
appellant in RFA No. 381/2019 who has led the arguments on behalf of
the appellants/aggrieved daughters-in-law, has primarily raised two
submissions. Firstly, he submits that the suit has been erroneously and
hastily decreed under Order XII Rule 6 CPC without appreciating the
exigent fact that the daughter-in-law had not made any unambiguous
admission regarding the exclusive ownership of her father-in-law to the
suit premises. While she had clearly averred that her husband was also a
co-owner of the suit premises, the trial Court has decreed the suit without
granting her any opportunity to demonstrate that the suit premises, despite
being in the name of her father-in-law was, in fact, joint family property.
By drawing my attention to the pleadings on record, including the written
statement and the application filed by the appellant/daughter-in-law
before the trial Court seeking information on source of the funds used for
purchasing the suit premises, he submits that in a country like ours merely
because the title of the suit premises was in the name of the father-in-law,
it could not lead to the conclusion that the daughter-in-law or her husband
did not have any right in the said property. Had she been permitted to lead
evidence and cross examine the father-in-law on this aspect, the daughter-
in-law would have been able to prove that the funds used for purchasing
the suit premises came from the joint family business. However by
decreeing the suit under Order XII Rule 6 of the CPC the trial Court, in

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 10 of 66
effect, closed any opportunity for the daughter-in-law to prove her case.
He submits that in doing so, the trial Court has failed to appreciate the
settled legal position that a decree on admission passed under Order XII
Rule 6 of the CPC must follow a clear, unconditional and unambiguous
admission, which was not the case here. A mere admission made by the
daughter-in-law that the title of the suit premises was in her father-in-
law‟s name could not be construed as an admission on her part that he
was the exclusive owner of the suit premises. Mr. Sengh further submits
that notwithstanding the claim of the father-in-law that his daughter-in-
law‟s right to reside in the suit premises flowed through her husband, the
husband was deliberately not impleaded in the proceedings before the trial
Court, thereby compelling her to move an application under Order I Rule
10 CPC seeking his impleadment, which application was kept pending by
the trial Court at the time of passing the impugned decree. By placing
reliance on Kavita Gambhir Vs. Harish Chand Gambhir Anr. 162
(2009) DLT 459 he submits that institution of the suit by the father-in-law
without impleading the husband, who is a necessary party, showed that
the proceedings were evidently collusive and ought to be rejected at the
outset. Mr. Sengh submits that in his appeal, had the husband been
impleaded before the trial Court, he could have been cross-examined on
the aspect of his partnership in the joint family business, namely M/s
Gokulchand Harichand (formerly Gokulchand Ahuja and Sons), from
where a sum of Rs.1,82,000/- was withdrawn in the year 1989-90 to
purchase the suit premises. He further submits that contrary to the
respondent‟s averments that his son was no longer residing in the suit
premises which implied that it could not be treated as a shared household,

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 11 of 66
the husband in his Affidavit dated 30.11.2017 had set down the suit
premises as his residence address, which contradicts the stand of the in-
laws before the trial Court and this Court.

6. The second submission of Mr. Sengh is that, without prejudice to her
plea that the suit premises was a joint family property, the daughter-in-
law had a right of residence therein as it was her shared household,
irrespective of whether she or her husband had a share thereon or who
was the title holder of the suit premises. As per the provisions of the DV
Act, the sole prerequisite to protect the right of residence of the daughter-
in-law is that the suit premises must be shown to be a shared household
falling within the ambit of Section 2(s) of the DV Act. However this right
of residence, being a crucial right, may be altered “in accordance with the
procedure as established in law”, as per Section 17(2) of the DV Act. Mr.
Sengh submits that the phrase „procedure as per law‟, however, cannot
imply a simpliciter suit for injunction or possession without considering a
vital, independent and statutory right of the daughter-in-law. By placing
reliance on the decision of this Court in Smt. Preeti Satija Vs. Smt. Raj
Kumari Anr 207 (2014) DLT 78 and Navneet Arora Vs. Surender
Kaur 213 (2014) DLT 611 he submits that the right of residence is a
revolutionary right essential to the DV Act and, therefore, while dealing
with a claim for enforcement of such right the Trial Court ought to bear in
mind its sanctity and importance, without diluting it on the mere factum
of ownership of the suit premises. He submits that in matrimonial
disputes, the estranged husband often colludes with his parents/the in-
laws to feign that he has no right in the suit premises, even if the same is
actually owned by him – which misuse the DV Act aimed to rectify. He

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 12 of 66
relies on Navneet Arora (supra) and Preeti Satija (supra) to contend that
once the daughter-in-law had been living jointly with her in-laws at their
premises, her right of residence under the DV Act to continue her
residence thereon cannot be defeated merely because the husband claims
to be residing separately.

7. Ms. Sunieta Ojha, learned counsel appearing for the appellant in RFA
604/2019, adopts the submissions of Mr. J.P. Sengh and reiterates the
importance of the protections extended under the DV Act. She submits
that the Act aims to ensure that aggrieved daughters-in-law are not left
without shelter on reporting domestic abuse to the authorities. She further
submits that once an order protecting the right of residence of a daughter-
in-law has been passed under the DV Act, evidently prima-facie finding
exists in her favour that the suit premises where she is residing is a shared
household and that the in-laws were estopped from contending otherwise,
unless they challenged the order by way of an appeal under Section 29 of
the DV Act. Instead, the in-laws failed to avail the statutory remedy of
appeal available to them and attempted to bypass the domestic violence
proceedings by instituting the subject suit. She submits that in these
circumstances, the residence order and the findings of the DV Court
therein continue to be in operation today and cannot be treated lightly, as
has been done in these impugned decrees. On facts, she submits that in
any event the suit premises was indeed a shared household, as the
daughter-in-law has been residing with her two minor children in the suit
premises since 2002 and had been heavily contributing towards the family
corpus by working in the family-owned Grover Medical Centre, as she is
a qualified medical professional. She also claims to have financially

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 13 of 66
contributed to the construction of the property located on the suit
premises which fact is evident from not only the written statement but
also the plaint in the subject suit, showing the joint structure of the family
and that the in-laws continued to have food from the same kitchen as her
children.

8. She submits that merely because the language of both Section 17(2)
of the DV Act and the residence order state that the in-laws cannot evict
or exclude the daughter-in-law from the shared household save in
accordance with the procedure as established by law, could not imply that
the right of residence of the daughter-in-law would collapse in a suit for
possession, by giving the DV Act a complete go-by. She further submits
that the procedure as envisaged by Section 17(2) of the DV Act has to be
located within the DV Act itself which implies that a recorded owner
cannot be permitted to resort to other proceedings under common law to
seek dispossession of the daughter-in-law. By relying on the decision of
the Supreme Court in Vaishali Abhimanyu Joshi Vs. Nanasaheb Gopal
Joshi (2017) 14 SCC 373, she contends that the „procedure‟ referred to in
Section 17(2) can be found subsequently within the DV Act itself in
Section 19, which lays down the method to secure the right of residence
of a daughter-in-law, and Section 26 which empowers a civil court to
grant any reliefs under Sections 18-22 of the DV Act. Therefore, she
submits that, while deciding the in-laws‟ suit for possession, the trial
Courts ought to have read the protection under Section 17 of the DV Act
harmoniously with the provisions of the CPC as also the remaining
provisions of the DV Act.

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 14 of 66

9. Ms. Malvika Rajkotia, learned counsel appearing for the appellant in
RFA 222/2019, adopts the previous arguments made by Mr. Sengh and
Ms. Ojha on behalf of the daughters-in-law and submits that the DV Act
is a special Act which has to prevail over the CPC, being a general law
whereunder an owner can institute proceedings to seek possession of his
property. Thus, an admission made by the daughter-in-law regarding the
title of her father-in-law to the suit premises could not lead to her
dispossession under Order XII Rule 6 CPC without considering her right
of residence under the DV Act or granting her the opportunity of a fair
trial. Taking this plea further, she submits that in the present appeal the
daughter-in-law had raised two equally valid defences: first being her
statutory right to reside in the suit premises as per the DV Act and the
second being that the suit premises was not self-acquired; on the other
hand, the father-in-law had made ambiguous averments in his plaint about
the nature of rights claimed by him, yet, the trial court while dealing with
these contrary stands came to pass the impugned decree under Order XII
Rule 6 of the CPC without giving due consideration to these pleadings or
affording the daughter-in-law an opportunity to prove any of her
defences. By placing reliance on the decision in Eveneet Singh Ors.
Vs. Prashant Chaudhari Ors.177 (2011) DLT 124, she submits that in
such cases where the husband is blatantly colluding with his parents to
oust his wife and children from his house, the trial court cannot decree the
suit on an admission.

10. Ms. Rajkotia submits that even if the in-laws are senior citizens who
are entitled to seek remedy under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents
and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 („Senior Citizens Act‟ for short), a

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 15 of 66
protective statute which was enacted to ensure that senior citizens are not
ill-treated, the same cannot dilute the rights of the daughter-in-law under
the DV Act. In any event, she contends that the Senior Citizens Act is not
applicable to the facts of the present case and reiterates that, even if it
were, this Act cannot be used to defeat the rights of the daughter-in-law
under the DV Act, that too, in a blatantly collusive suit filed by her
husband and father-in-law.

11. Mr. Pradeep Singh, learned counsel appearing for the appellant in
RFA No. 230/2019 while adopting the arguments of the other counsel on
behalf of the daughters-in-law, submits that the trial Court has failed to
appreciate that the daughter-in-law had never admitted the title of her
father-in-law to the suit premises. The in-laws‟ application under Order
XII Rule 6 CPC has been erroneously allowed by the trial Court by
holding that since the daughter-in-law had not specifically denied the in-
laws‟ title to the suit premises in her pleadings, it was a case of evasive
denial in terms of Order VIII Rules 3-5 CPC and had to, therefore, be
treated as an admission. He submits that on the other hand, the father-in-
law had, in his plaint, clearly admitted that initially the suit premises was
jointly owned by him with his brother, which admission was sufficient to
show that there was merit in the daughter-in-law‟s contention that the suit
premises was joint family property and a shared household.

12. Mr. Rajeev Nanda, learned counsel appearing for the appellant in
RFA No. 598/2019 adopts the previous arguments advanced on behalf of
the daughters-in-law and submits, by relying on the decision in Eveneet
Singh (supra), that this court can lift the veil to find out the true nature of
the suits forming the subject of these appeals, which are collusive and

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 16 of 66
clearly malafide. He further submits that the impugned order in the
present appeal has been passed by relying on the admissions not made by
the daughter-in-law, but those made by her estranged husband who was
her co-defendant before the trial Court. Thus, these admissions made by
the husband shows that the suit was collusive and had been filed only to
deprive the daughter-in-law of her rights under the DV Act. He submits
that in fact, in the present appeal, the father-in-law had already filed a suit
being CS No. 120/2014 earlier which came to be dismissed when he was
unable to prove his title documents and, therefore, the suit was even
otherwise barred by res judicata and ought to have been dismissed at the
outset.

13. For the aforesaid reasons, the appellants submit that the impugned
orders and judgments are unsustainable, having been passed without a
correct appreciation of law and the fact situation of these appeals, and
pray that the same be set aside.

Submissions on behalf of the respondents/in-laws

14. On the other hand, Ms. Geeta Luthra learned senior counsel for the
respondent in RFA No. 381/2019 along with Mr. Prabhjeet Jauhar, led the
arguments on behalf of the respondents/in-laws and submits that as per
statutory provisions, a daughter-in-law claiming right of residence under
the DV Act must necessarily prove that the suit premises is her a shared
household. Ms. Luthra submits that the Supreme Court has, in Shumita
Didi Sandhu Vs. Sanjay Singh Sandhu Ors. 174 (2010) DLT 79(DB)
and S.R. Batra Anr. Vs. Taruna Batra (2007) 3 SCC 169, already
examined what comprises a „shared household‟ and has categorically held

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 17 of 66
that a shared household solely refers to the house belonging to/taken on
rent by the husband or the house belonging to a joint family, of which the
husband is a member. Therefore, as per the prevalent law, any property
owned exclusively by an in-law cannot be treated as a shared household.
She contends that in the light of this position, reliance cannot be placed on
any decisions of this Court which hold to the contrary, as has been the
case in Preeti Satija (supra) and Navneet Arora (supra), relied upon by
the daughters-in-law. By placing reliance on Harish Chand Tandon Vs.
Darpan Tandon Ors. 2015 (153) DRJ 273, she submits that the
decision of the Supreme Court in Shumita Didi (supra) and S.R. Batra
(supra) continues to remain binding on this Court under Article 141 of the
Constitution of India. Thus, a daughter-in-law who resides in the suit
premises as gratuitous licensees of the father-in-law in these appeals,
cannot claim an absolute right of residence in these premises. In the
present appeal she contends that the plea of the suit premises being a
shared household is also belied by the averments of the daughter-in-law in
her own complaint under the DV Act as she has, in paragraph 32 thereof,
specifically stated that she was not being permitted to eat from the
common kitchen of the household and had been using a separate kitchen
set up for her in the year 2004; this is in the teeth of the settled position of
law that a property cannot be treated as a shared household when there is
no commonality of kitchen. Ms. Luthra contends that in any event, the
daughter-in-law is only entitled to claim maintenance from her husband or
claim a right to stay in a property where her husband is presently staying,
but she cannot insist upon residing in a house exclusively owned by her
in-laws. She submits that even the plea of the daughter-in-law that the suit

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 18 of 66
premises was joint family property cannot hold ground in the light of the
conveyance deed dated 12.01.1983 whereby the premises have been
recorded in the individual name of the father-in-law, and his income tax
returns whereunder he has been assessed as an individual person and not
as a HUF. In these circumstances, she submits that no HUF had ever been
constituted by the father-in-law and a mere self-serving averment made
by the daughter-in-law in her written statement that the suit premises is a
joint family property, was rightly not relied upon by the trial Court. In
case the daughter-in-law wanted to plead that the suit property did indeed
form a part of the joint family property, the onus to prove this claim was
on her, which she failed to discharge. Ms. Luthra submits that in any
event, even as per the decisions in Uttam Singh Duggal Co. Vs. United
Bank of India Ors. (2000) 7 SCC 120 and Preet Inder Singh Vs.
Gursharna Kaur Anr.(RFA No. 747/2010), once the daughter-in-law, in
the present appeal, had specifically admitted in the domestic violence
proceedings that her father-in-law was the owner of the suit premises in
which she was residing, she was estopped from thereafter urging to the
contrary. In these circumstances, she submits that the trial Court was fully
justified in decreeing the suit under Order XII Rule 6 CPC without
forcing the respondent to await a prolonged trial of the suit.

15. Ms. Luthra further submits that once the residence order passed in
favour of the appellant by the DV Court and Section 17 of the DV Act
provide that the right of residence of an aggrieved person is not absolute
but is subject to being varied as per the procedure established by law, the
daughter-in-law cannot claim otherwise or plead that she cannot be
dispossessed even by resorting to other remedies available to the father-

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 19 of 66

in-law. By placing reliance on the decisions of Vimlaben Ajithai Vs.
Vatsalaben Ashokbhai Patel (2008) 4 SCC 649, Barun Kumar Nahar
Vs. Parul Nahar 2013 (199) DLT 1, Kavita Chaudhari Vs. Eveneet
Singh Anr. 202 (2013) DLT 548, Eveneet Singh Vs. Prashant
Chaudhari Anr. FAO (OS) 71-72/2011 Meenu Vs Birma Devi 2017 II
AD(Delhi) 729 and Sh. Vimal Khanna Anr. Vs. Sh. Kishan Chand
Khanna (2010) 116 DRJ 251(DB), she submits that the estranged
daughter-in-law‟s right of residence, after all, cannot override the right of
the father-in-law, who is himself in the evening of his life and suffers
from medical ailments, to seek possession of his exclusively owned
property and lead his old age in peace. In these circumstances, the father-
in-law instituted a suit for mandatory injunction and possession which
was decreed under the impugned judgment. She contends, by placing
reliance on the decision of the Supreme Court in Maria Margarida
Sequeria Fernandes and Ors. Vs. Erasmo Jack de Sequeria (Dead)
through LRs (2012) 5 SCC 370, that ultimately the only remedy available
with the father-in-law was to seek adjudication of his rights as the title-
holder of the suit premises before a court of competent jurisdiction. The
daughter-in-law, therefore, cannot raise any grievance regarding the
institution of the suit when the father-in-law, being the rightful owner of
the suit premises, has acted well within the procedure established by law
by filing a suit for possession before a court of competent jurisdiction,
with sufficient opportunity having to all parties to be heard and file
pleadings.

16. Ms. Luthra submits that even the reliance of the daughters-in-law on
Section 26 of the DV Act is wholly misplaced as this provision only

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 20 of 66
permits an aggrieved person to seek the reliefs available to them under the
DV Act in any other proceedings, even those instituted by a third party.
However, once the daughter-in-law is granted a residence order in her
favour by the DV Court, she has already exhausted her claim under the
DV Act; when this residence order is subsequently set aside by a Civil
Court in accordance with the procedure established by law, as has been
contemplated in Section 17(2) of the DV Act as well as the order itself,
the daughter-in-law cannot again raise a claim for the same right. Ms.
Luthra finally submits that, even otherwise, it is not as if the daughter-in-
law is without remedy as she can approach the DV Court to seek a
direction to the husband to secure an alternate accommodation for her or
to pay rent for the same under Section 19(1)(f) of the DV Act; this claim,
however, can only be made against the husband and not the in-laws.

17. Mr. Jatan Singh, learned counsel for the respondent in RFA No.
604/2019 while adopting the submissions made by Ms. Luthra on behalf
of the in-laws, submits that the appellant‟s written statement shows that
she seeks to gain possession of the suit premises through any means as her
prayer is not only confined to seeking residence in the suit premises
which she claims is her shared household, but that, without any basis, she
is also claiming ownership of the suit premises. Even her claim of having
contributed substantially to the construction of the second and third floors
of the suit premises out of her own earnings is belied by the fact that the
construction in question had only been carried out in the year 2010, by
which time the matrimonial relations between the parties had already
soured. He submits that a perusal of the pleadings before the trial Court
shows that the daughter-in-law failed to specifically deny the absolute

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 21 of 66
ownership of her father-in-law over the suit premises which ultimately led
to the passing of the impugned judgment under Order XII Rule 6 CPC. It
is a settled legal position that a daughter-in-law, or for that matter her
husband, does not have a right to occupy the property exclusively owned
by her parents-in-law; for this purpose he places reliance on Sudha
Mishra Vs. Surya Chandra Mishra 211 (214) DLT 53, Manju Gupta Vs.
Pankaj Gupta Anr. Crl. M.C. No. 2082/2016, Gauri Bhalla Vs. Ashish
Bhalla and Ors.254 (2018) DLT 267 and Sunita Gangwal Vs. Chottey
Lal 248 (2018) DLT 22.

18. Mr. Kotla Harsha Vardhan, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the
respondent in RFA No. 222/2019, while adopting the contentions
advanced previously on behalf of the in-laws submits that his appeal
stands on a slightly different footing than the others as, in his case, on
20.02.2019, in the domestic violence proceedings instituted by the
daughter-in-law against him and her husband, the DV Court had
specifically returned the finding that the suit premises was not her shared
household. In these circumstances, he urges that once the daughter-in-
law‟s claim already stands decided by the DV Court, she cannot claim it
once again before a civil court and that no further protection in this regard
should be granted to her. By relying upon the decision of the High Court
of Kerala in A.R. Hashir v. Shima AIR 2016 Ker 2 he contends that in
any event, even as per Article 300A of the Constitution of India, the
father-in-law has the right to obtain possession of the suit premises, being
its absolute owner, and that the scope of a „shared household‟ under the
DV Act cannot be expanded to deny him of the same.

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 22 of 66

19. Mr. Mohit Batra, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the
respondent in RFA No. 230/2019 adopts the previous submissions made
on behalf of the in laws and submits that since the respondent in the
present appeal had conclusively proved before the trial Court that the suit
premises was his self-acquired property, the impugned judgments, in the
light of the decision of this Court in Savitri Devi Vs. Manoj Kumar
Anr. CS(OS) No. 910/2011 was warranted. On facts, he contends that
the claim of the daughter-in-law with respect to the original suit being
barred under Section 7 of the Family Courts Act had already been
successfully disputed before the trial Court and, therefore, evidently the
appellant in the present case was trying every possible method to
invalidate the civil proceedings by now adopting the defence of the suit
premises being her shared household under Section 17 of the DV Act. He
submits that the husband of the appellant herein had moved an application
before the DV Court praying that he was ready and willing to provide
alternate accommodation to his wife, which was vehemently opposed by
her as she insisted on continuing to reside in the suit premises.

20. Mr. Amitesh Gaurav, learned counsel for the respondent in RFA No.
609/2019 submits that a distinct feature of this appeal, setting it apart
from the accompanying appeals, is that the daughter-in-law till date has
not obtained an order protecting her right of residence in the suit premises
from the DV Court. He relies upon the decision of the Supreme Court in
Vishnu Dutt Sharma Vs. Daya Sapra (Smt)(2009) 13 SCC 729 to
contend that in any event, the decision of a DV Court, which is essentially
a criminal court, is not binding in a civil proceeding as it has limited
applicability in proceedings before a civil court for determining inter-alia

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 23 of 66
who the accused was and the final outcome of such criminal proceeding;
therefore, he submits that the orders passed by the DV Court were rightly
not considered by the trial Court in the connected appeals, while passing
the impugned decrees. Further, by relying upon Vimlaben Ajitbhai Patel
(supra), he submits that the right to own and enjoy one‟s property is a
constitutional right which cannot be overlooked when considering the
right of residence of an aggrieved person under the DV Act and that the
trial Court, after adhering to the prescribed procedure, had concluded that
the suit premises was a self-acquired property of the in-laws, and
protected their constitutional right thereon.

21. For the aforesaid reasons, the respondents submit that the present
appeals, being meritless, ought to be dismissed.

Analyses and findings

22. From the rival submissions of the parties, the undisputed factual
position which emerges is that in all these cases the suit premises are
standing exclusively in the names of the in-laws, though the appellants in
most of the appeals are claiming that either they or their husbands are also
co-owners of the suit premises despite the title documents thereof not
bearing their names. Moreover, in the light of the souring domestic
relationship between the parties, except in RFA 604/2019, the appellants
have already initiated proceedings before the DV Court; and in most cases
there are subsisting interim orders passed by the DV Courts protecting the
right of the daughters-in-law to reside in the suit premises. It is also
undisputed that under the scheme of the Act, these residence orders are
granted only when the DV Court returns prima facie finding that the suit
premises is a shared household. The parties are also ad idem that under

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 24 of 66
the DV Act if the aggrieved person, the daughters-in-law in these appeals,
is found to be residing in a shared household, she is entitled to continue
residing in the said household, irrespective of whether the premises are
owned by her in-laws or by any other third party as long as the domestic
relationship between them subsists. The bone of contention between the
parties, however, is whether this right of the daughter-in-law is absolute
and would continue during the continuance of the DV proceedings and till
the subsistence of a domestic relationship between the in-laws and her, as
the appellants would contend, or whether the same is transient in nature
and subsists only till she is evicted by way of civil proceedings
independently instituted by the owners seeking possession of the shared
household as is sought to be contended by the respondents. The primary
question which, thus, needs to be determined in these appeals is whether
once domestic violence proceedings are pending and the daughter-in-law,
or for that matter in favour of any aggrieved person, claims that she has a
right of residence in the suit premises being her shared household, would
the recorded owner of the property/shared household be entitled to
institute a suit to recover possession from her during the pendency of the
DV proceedings itself? If the answer to this question is in the affirmative,
then the next question would be as to what procedure should be adopted
and whether a decree of eviction can automatically be passed against the
daughter-in-law on the basis of the title documents in favour of her in-
laws, without considering the nature of her possession, the existing
residence order in her favour or her claim that the suit premises is a
shared household? An ancillary question is whether in a case where the
daughter-in-law does not deny that the suit premises stands in the name of

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 25 of 66
her in-laws but instead pleads that the same is a joint family property in
which her estranged husband has a share, can a decree on admission
under Order XII Rule 6 CPC be passed without giving her an opportunity
to prove that the property is indeed joint family property?

23. Since these appeals are premised on the right claimed by the
daughters-in-law under the DV Act, it would be appropriate to examine
the Statement of Objects and Reasons for the enactment of this special
statute which reads as under:

“Statement of Objects and Reasons
Domestic violence is undoubtedly a human rights issue and
serious deterrent to development. The Vienna Accord of 1994 and
the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action (1995) have
acknowledged this. The United Nations Committee on Convention
on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
(CEDAW) in its General Recommendation No.XII (1989) has
recommended that State parties should act to protect women
against violence of any kind especially that occurring within the
family.

2. The phenomenon of domestic violence is widely prevalent but
has remained largely invisible in the public domain. Presently,
where a woman is subjected to cruelty by her husband or his
relatives, it is an offence under Section 498A of the Indian Penal
Code. The civil law does not however address this phenomenon
in its entirety.

3. It is, therefore, proposed to enact a law keeping in view the
rights guaranteed under articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution
to provide for a remedy under the civil law which is intended to
protect the woman from being victims of domestic violence and to
prevent the occurance of domestic violence in the society.

4. The Bill, inter alia, seeks to provide for the following:-

(i) It 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,

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 26 of 66
marriage or through a relationship in the nature of marriage or
adoption. In addition, relationships with family members living
together as a joint family are also included. Even those women
who are sisters, widows, mothers, single women, or living with the
abuser are entitled to legal protection under the proposed
legislation. However, whereas the Bill enables the wife or the
female living in a relationship in the nature of marriage to file a
complaint under the proposed enactment against any relative of
the husband or the male partner, it does not enable any female
relative of the husband or the male partner to file a complaint
against the wife or the female partner.

(ii) It defines the expression “domestic violence” to include
actual abuse or threat or abuse that is physical, sexual, verbal,
emotional or economic. Harassment by way of unlawful dowry
demands to the woman or her relatives would also be covered
under this definition.

(iii) It provides for the rights of women to secure housing. It
also provides for the right of a woman to reside in her
matrimonial home or shared household, whether or not she has
any title or rights in such home or household. The right is
secured by a residence order, which is passed by the Magistrate.

(iv) It empowers the Magistrate to pass protection orders in
favour of the aggrieved person to prevent the respondent from
aiding or committing an act of domestic violence or any other
specified act, entering a workplace or any other place frequented
by the aggrieved person, attempting to communicate with her,
isolating any assets used by both the parties and causing violence
to the aggrieved person, her relatives or others who provide her
assistance from the domestic violence.

(v) It provides for appointment of Protection Officers and
registration of non-governmental organisations as service
provides for providing assistance to the aggrieved person with
respect to her medical examination, obtaining legal aid, safe,
shelter, etc.

5. The Bill seeks to achieve the above objects. The notes on
clauses explain the various provisions contained in the Bill.”

24. Ever since its inception in 2005 the DV Act, which gives this right of
residence to a person who may not have any ownership rights, has invited
great controversy and has been the subject matter of numerous decisions

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 27 of 66
of the Supreme Court and of this Court, exploring its application and the
precise nature of its impact in varying domestic disputes. It would be
instructive to refer to the observations of a Division Bench of this Court
in Eveneet Singh (supra) wherein this Court, after examining the aims
and objects for enactment of this social welfare legislation, has
emphasised that the DV Act should be interpreted in a manner which
furthers the objects of the Act. The relevant extract of paragraphs 12 to
15 of the decision in Eveneet Singh (supra) reads as under:-

“12. The Domestic Violence Act is a secular legislation, akin to
Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. It was
enacted “to provide more effective protection of the rights of
women guaranteed under the Constitution who are victims of
violence of any kind occurring within the family”. The
introduction of the remedy of right to residence is a revolutionary
and path breaking step, taken to further the objects of the Act,
and any attempt at restricting the scope of the remedy would
reduce the effectiveness of the Act itself. Therefore, it would be
contrary to the scheme and the objects of the Act to restrict its
application to only such cases where the husband owns some
property or has a share in it, as the mother-in-law can also be a
Respondent in the proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act
and remedies available under the same Act would necessarily
need to be enforced against her.

13. Again, to confine the reference to “joint” family property by
bringing in the concept of a HUF would be to restrict the
application of the provision, to a point which is contrary to
Parliamentary intention that the law is a non-sectarian one. The
“joint” status of a family here obviously is in a generic sense, and
importing notions of HUF would unwittingly give greater benefits
to one section of the community, which was never the intention of
Parliament. In a generic sense, it refers to a group of people,
related either by blood or marriage, residing in the same house
and instances of that can be found in almost all parts of India.
The general practice in India is that the son and his wife reside in
the house of the (husband’s) parents after marriage. Even though
a legal obligation to maintain a child ceases as soon as he attains

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 28 of 66
majority, the jural relationship between the parents and the child
continues. The concept of a “joint family” in law is peculiar to
Hindu law. No concept of a “joint family’ similar to that of an
HUF can be found in Muslim Law, Christian Law or any other
personal law.

14. The danger of accepting a restricted interpretation of joint
family by equating it to a HUF would result in discrimination,
because women living in a shared household belonging to HU Fs
(and therefore Hindus) would have more security, by reason of
their professing the Hindu faith than others who are not Hindus.
Also, even among Hindus, women who are married into or live in
HUFs, as compared with those living with husbands, whose
parents own the property – on an application of Batra -would
have the protection of the Act; the latter would not have any
protection. It is precisely to avoid this anomaly that Parliament
clarified that irrespective of title of the “Respondent” to the
“shared household”, a protection order can be made under
Section 19(1)(a).

15. The definition of “shared household” emphasizes the factum
of a domestic relationship and no investigation into the
ownership of the said household is necessary, as per the
definition. Even if an inquiry is made into the aspect of ownership
of the household, the definition casts a wide enough net. It is
couched in inclusive terms and is not in any way, exhaustive (S.
Prabhakaran v. State of Kerala, 2009 (2) RCR 883. It states that
“…includes such a household whether owned or tenanted either
jointly by the aggrieved person and the Respondent or owned or
tenanted by either of them in respect of which either the
aggrieved person or the Respondent or both jointly or singly have
any right, title, interest or equity and includes 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 has any right, title or interest in the shared household
(Emphasis supplied).”

25. At this stage, it would also be useful to refer to the observations in
paragraphs 20 and 21 of Preeti Satija (supra) wherein the Division
Bench emphasised that the right of residence granted to an aggrieved

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 29 of 66
person and the genesis of a mechanism to enforce this right were ground
breaking measures contained in the DV Act; the same reads as under:-

“20. Crucially, Parliament‟s intention by the 2005 Act was to
secure the rights of aggrieved persons in the shared household,
which could be tenanted by the Respondent (including relative of
the husband) or in respect of which the Respondent had jointly or
singly any right, title, interest, or “equity”. For instance, a widow
(or as in this case, a daughter in law, estranged from her
husband) living with a mother-in-law, in premises owned by the
latter, falls within a “domestic relationship”. The obligation not
to disturb the right to residence in the shared household would
continue even if the mother-in-law does not have any right, title or
interest, but is a tenant, or entitled to “equity” (such as an
equitable right to possession) in those premises. This is because
the premises would be a “shared household”. The daughter-in-
law, in these circumstances is entitled to protection from
dispossession, though her husband never had any ownership
rights in the premises. The right is not dependent on title, but the
mere factum of residence. Thus, even if the mother-in-law is a
tenant, then, on that ground, or someone having equity, she can
be injuncted from dispossessing the daughter in law. In case the
mother in law is the owner, the obligation to allow the daughter
in law to live in the shared household, as long as the matrimonial
relationship between her and the husband subsists, continues. The
only exception is the proviso to 19(1)(b), which exempts women
from being directed to remove themselves from the shared
household. No such exception has been carved out for the other
reliefs under Section 19, especially in respect of protection
orders. Had the Parliament intended to create another exception
in favor of women, it would have done so. This omission was
deliberate and in consonance with the rest of the scheme of the
Act. There can be other cases of domestic relationships such as an
orphaned sister, or widowed mother, living in her brother’s or
son’s house. Both are covered by the definition of domestic
relationship, as the brother is clearly a Respondent. In such a
case too, if the widowed mother or sister is threatened with
dispossession, they can secure reliefs under the Act,
notwithstanding exclusive ownership of the property by the son or
brother. Thus, excluding the right of residence against properties

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 30 of 66
where the husband has no right, share, interest or title, would
severely curtail the extent of the usefulness of the right to
residence.

21. The other aspect, which this Court wishes to highlight, is that
the 2005 Act applies to all communities, and was enacted “to
provide more effective protection of the rights of women
guaranteed under the Constitution who are victims of violence of
any kind occurring within the family”. The right to residence and
creation of mechanism to enforce is a ground breaking measure,
which Courts should be alive to. Restricting the scope of the
remedies, including in respect of the right to reside in shared
household, would undermine the purpose of this enactment. It is,
therefore, contrary to the scheme and the objects of the Act, as
also the unambiguous text of Section 2(s), to restrict the
application of the 2005 Act to only such cases where the husband
alone owns some property or has a share in it. Crucially, the
mother-in-law (or a father-in-law, or for that matter, “a relative
of the husband”) can also be a Respondent in the proceedings
under the 2005 Act and remedies available under the same Act
would necessarily need to be enforced against them.”

26. The observations of a subsequent Division Bench of this Court in
Navneet Arora (supra) offer further insight into the ambit of the DV Act
and the mischief which it seeks to redress. The relevant paragraphs of the
said decision, i.e., paragraphs 53, 57 to 59, read as under:-

“53. There can be no quarrel that Protection of Women from
Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is a social-welfare legislation
enacted for the benefit and amelioration of women.
….

57. On the first blush it may appear quite jarring to certain
quarters of the society that by enacting the Protection of Women
from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 the legislature has invested a
right of residence in favour of wives qua premises in which they
or their husband admittedly have no right, title or interest and
such premises are in fact owned by the relatives of the husband.

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 31 of 66

58. It may be highlighted that the Act does not confer any title or
proprietary rights in favour of the aggrieved person as
misunderstood by most, but merely secures a right of residence in
the shared household„. Section 17(2) clarifies that the aggrieved
person may be evicted from the shared household but only in
accordance with the procedure established by law. The legislature
has taken care to calibrate and balance the interests of the family
members of the respondent and mitigated the rigour by expressly
providing under the proviso to Section 19 (1) that whilst
adjudicating an application preferred by the aggrieved person it
would not be open to the Court to pass directions for removing a
female member of the respondents family from the „shared
household‟. Furthermore, in terms of Section 19 (1) (f), the Court
may direct the respondent to secure same level of accommodation
for the aggrieved person as enjoyed by her in the shared
household‟ or to pay rent for the same, if the circumstances so
require.

59. The seemingly radical provisions comprised in the Protection
of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 must be understood
and appreciated in light of the prevalent culture and ethos in our
society.”

27. At this stage, reference may also be made to Hiral P. Harsora
Ors. Vs. Kusum Narottamdas Harsora Ors. (2016) 10 SCC 165
wherein the Supreme Court has, in paragraphs 16, 18 and 25 of its
decision, once again elucidated the reasons behind enactment of the DV
Act; the same read as under-

“16. A cursory reading of the Statement of Objects and Reasons
makes it clear that the phenomenon of domestic violence against
women is widely prevalent and needs redressal. Whereas criminal
law does offer some redressal, civil law does not address this
phenomenon in its entirety. The idea therefore is to provide
various innovative remedies in favour of women who suffer from
domestic violence, against the perpetrators of such violence.

18. What is of great significance is that the 2005 Act is to provide
for effective protection of the rights of women who are victims of

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 32 of 66
violence of any kind occurring within the family. The Preamble
also makes it clear that the reach of the Act is that violence,
whether physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic, are all
to be redressed by the statute. That the perpetrators and abettors
of such violence can, in given situations, be women themselves, is
obvious. With this object in mind, let us now examine the
provisions of the statute itself.

…..

25. When we come to Section 26 of the Act, the sweep of the Act is
such that all the innovative reliefs available under Sections 18 to
22 may also be sought in any legal proceeding before a civil
court, family court or criminal court affecting the aggrieved
person and the respondent. The proceeding in the civil court,
family court or criminal court may well include female members
of a family, and reliefs sought in those legal proceedings would
not be restricted by the definition of “respondent” in the 2005
Act. Thus, an invidious discrimination will result, depending upon
whether the aggrieved person chooses to institute proceedings
under the 2005 Act or chooses to add to the reliefs available in
either a pending proceeding or a later proceeding in a civil court,
family court or criminal court. It is clear that there is no
intelligible differentia between a proceeding initiated under the
2005 Act and proceeding initiated in other fora under other Acts,
in which the self-same reliefs grantable under this Act, which are
restricted to an adult male person, are grantable by the other fora
also against female members of a family. This anomaly again
makes it clear that the definition of “respondent” in Section 2(q)
is not based on any intelligible differentia having any rational
relation to the object sought to be achieved by the 2005 Act. The
restriction of such person to being an adult male alone is
obviously not a differentia which would be in sync with the object
sought to be achieved under the 2005 Act, but would in fact be
contrary to it.”

28. What thus emerges is that the legislature, faced with rampant
incidents of domestic violence in the country and the desperate call for
legislative action to mitigate its devastating social impact, enacted this
path breaking statute with the object and purpose of combating routinely
perpetrated violence taking place within the confines of victims‟ homes.

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 33 of 66

The legislature, by way of the DV Act, intended to equip aggrieved
persons with a mechanism to freely protect and defend themselves against
violence inflicted in an intimate domestic setup, without fearing urgent
retaliatory action from their perpetrators, who are persons that they
identify as their family and loved ones. Even though the Act may not be a
magical solution for eradication of domestic violence, it does serve the
crucial purpose of transforming the journey of a victim of domestic
violence by enabling timely judicial intervention and protection to the
victim. It provides for specific legal rights and protections, both
permanent and interlocutory, to persons trapped in an endless cycle of
familial violence in order to discontinue this process of harm endured by
them. At the time of its enactment, the DV Act had specifically been
hailed for bestowing, for the very first time, a right of residence in favour
of an aggrieved person which practically amounted to safeguarding one of
the most essential rights for their survival – the right to shelter. In
incidents of domestic violence arising out of matrimonial disharmony,
this right of residence is a special step towards ensuring that a helpless
wife and her children are not abandoned without any shelter, by
categorically protecting their right to reside in the shared household,
irrespective of whether the aggrieved wife or her spouse, bears any title or
interest in the said household. It is in the light of this background that the
provisions and the ambit of the rights granted under the DV Act have to
be interpreted.

29. As is evident from the submissions of the parties, the trope in these
appeals is regarding the nature of the right of residence accruing to a

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 34 of 66
daughter-in-law under Section 17 of the DV Act, which provision reads as
under:-

“17. Right to reside in a shared household.-

(1) Notwithstanding 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.”

30. As on date the admitted position is that in most of the matters, there
are either subsisting orders passed by the DV Court in favour of the
appellants protecting their right of residence in the suit premises, which
orders have not been assailed by any of the respondents by filing an
appeal under Section 29 of the DV Act, or domestic violence proceedings
seeking protection of their right of residence on the ground that they are
shared households are presently pending before the DV Court. I,
therefore, find that the real point of determination in these appeals is not
as to whether the suit premises is a shared household or not. In fact since
the domestic violence proceedings initiated by the daughters-in-law are
presently pending adjudication, I am of the view that any determination of
this issue in these proceedings would result in causing serious prejudice to
the claims of these parties in the domestic violence proceedings where
this question would be determined under the scheme of the Act. I find that
not only have the trial Courts, in some of the orders impugned herein,
ventured into giving cryptic findings on this aspect, without examining
this aspect in depth or being circumspect about its possible impact on the

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 35 of 66
claims of the parties in the proceedings before the DV Court. In fact, the
only question which arises for my consideration in the present appeals is
apropos the nature and extent of the right of residence accruing to the
daughters-in-law under the DV Act during the pendency of the DV
proceedings. For that reason, despite both parties making an endeavour to
show, by relying upon several judgments of the Supreme Court as well as
this Court, including the decision in S.R. Batra (supra) as to why the suit
premises in each of these appeals should or should not be held as a shared
household of the aggrieved daughter-in-law, I have consciously refrained
from determining this question or discussing the decisions relied upon by
the parties on this issue. In any event, a perusal of the decisions relied
upon by the parties on the issue of interpreting the term „shared
household‟ viz. each of these suit premises reveals that none of the said
decisions appear to have considered the effect of the pending domestic
violence proceedings instituted by the daughter-in-law upon the civil suits
and are, therefore, inapplicable to the issues raised in the present appeals.

31. Now the fulcrum of the respondents‟ opposition to the present
appeals is that the right of residence of the daughters-in-law, forming the
basis of their continued residence in the suit premises as also the
residence orders granted in their favour by the DV Courts, is not an
absolute right but is subject to the rider within Section 17 itself which in
no uncertain terms provides that the aggrieved person can be evicted from
the shared household by recourse to procedure established by law. It is
thus the respondent‟s case that the institution of civil suits for inter-alia
mandatory injunction, possession or eviction, undoubtedly falls within the
ambit of procedure established by law and therefore, the appellants cannot

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 36 of 66
demur that their rights under the DV Act were infringed by the institution
of these suits or the impugned orders passed therein against them. The
appellants, on the other hand, plead that procedure established by law as
envisaged under Section 17 cannot be read in the manner in which the
trial Courts have interpreted but would exclusively mean the procedure as
set out under the DV Act.

32. On a perusal of the statute I find that Section 17 of the DV Act no
doubt, while protecting the right of an aggrieved person to reside in a
shared household, envisages that she could be evicted or excluded from
the same in accordance with the procedure established by law. Hence, the
first point of issue arising for my consideration would be as to what is the
import of the phrase „procedure established by law‟ as found in Section
17 of the DV Act. Can this phrase be read to mean procedure prescribed
under the DV Act as the appellants would contend, or does it imply a
simpliciter suit for possession or injunction instituted by a rightful owner
in accordance with the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882
and the CPC, whichever applies, as urged by the respondents? The phrase
“procedure established by law‟, when not given an exclusive definition,
would typically encompass general legal principles, due process of law
and the entire omnibus of legislations in the country read with the
Constitution of India. The in-laws instituted suits seeking inter alia
possession of their residential premises, in accordance with the provisions
of the CPC, when their daughters-in-law claimed a right to continue
residing at these premises in the light of Section 17 of the DV Act.
Evidently the claim for possession raised by the in-laws, being title
holders of the suit premises, arose out of their desire to enjoy peaceful

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 37 of 66
possession of their self-acquired property which is their constitutional
right. On the other hand, the right of residence of a daughter-in-law is
essentially a statutory right, albeit temporary in nature, protecting their
right to a roof over their head. Can this, however, lead to the conclusion
that daughters-in-law can be deprived of their statutory right on the
ground that Section 17 of the DV Act, which gives them the right itself
makes it subject to institution of civil proceedings for possession by the
title holder of the property?

33. Thus, even though the suits for possession instituted by the in-laws
cannot be said to be not maintainable, as they would necessarily fall
within the term „procedure established by law‟, but the question however
is whether the suits could be simply decreed by the trial Court on the basis
of title without weighing the effect of the statutory rights in favour of the
appellant. The phrase „procedure established by law‟ cannot be
interpreted in such a narrow manner so as to permit a decree being passed
only on the basis of title documents by ignoring the statutory rights in
favour of the appellant. To determine this question, it would be apposite
to examine the nature of this statutory right granted to the appellants
under the DV Act and the reasons for introducing this right of residence.
The legislature, in its wisdom, was conscious that any claim raised by an
aggrieved person to continue residing in the premises also
inhabited/owned by the respondents in the domestic violence proceedings
was likely to face vehement opposition. In disputes of such nature, where
the relationship between the parties has witnessed a complete breakdown,
is bruised by great animosity and where aspersions are being cast on the
conduct and character of the opposite party by both the sides, any

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 38 of 66
opposition to the claim for right of residence made by a daughter-in-law is
not unforeseen or unexpected. Clearly, had there been no opposition or
animosity ensuing from a respondent in domestic violence proceedings,
the need for a right of such nature would have never arisen. For the
purpose of effectively addressing this situation, Section 17 specifically
protects the aggrieved person from being dispossessed from her residence
by securing this right irrespective of whether she has a right title or
interest in the same. Thus, I find that the DV Act has aspired to bring in a
sea change in the rights of persons affected by domestic violence by
ensuring that irrespective of the ownership of the suit premises where the
aggrieved person resided, she would still retain the right to reside therein
as long as she was able to prove that she had endured domestic violence
while being in a domestic relationship with the owner of such premises.
Even the decisions of the Supreme Court in Saraswathy Vs. Babu (2014)
3 SCC 712 and Shalini Vs. Kishor Ors. (2015) 11 SCC 718, relied
upon by Ms. Ojha, show that the apex court also remained conscious of
the gravity of this right for, even in cases where the wife was driven out
of her matrimonial home years before the domestic violence proceedings
had commenced, the aggrieved person had been granted a residence order
with respect to her right to reside in the house owned by her mother-in-
law.

34. Equally important to this discussion is the consistent position of this
Court upholding purposive construction of the DV Act, being a beneficent
piece of legislation drafted specifically to provide respite to one of the
most vulnerable groups in this country. While dealing with the concept of
shared household, two separate Division Benches of this Court in

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 39 of 66
Navneet Arora (supra) and Preeti Satija (supra) have categorically held
that a bar cannot be read into the right of residence to a shared household
granted to an aggrieved person, under the DV Act, by restricting this right
to only include those properties in which the husband of the aggrieved
person has a share. Once the mother-in-law or the father-in-law or for
that matter any other relative of the husband, can be arrayed as a
respondent in the proceedings instituted under the DV Act, there can be
no doubt that all remedies under the Act would also be enforceable
against them. On the other hand, the interpretation adopted by the trial
Courts in the impugned judgments suggests that the Civil Court,
irrespective of the plea adopted by an aggrieved wife that the premises
she seeks to reside in is a shared household or that residence orders have
been passed in her favour by the DV Court, would perforce decree the suit
against her on finding that the ownership of the premises vested in a
person other than her husband. This, in effect, would be an egregious
deprivation of the wife‟s statutory rights under the DV Act. The greatest
fall-out of this interpretation, however, would be that it would single-
handedly make the rights of an aggrieved person and the proceedings
instituted under the DV Act lapse and render the statute, itself, nugatory.
This right, therefore, being a vital statutory right could not simply be
brushed aside and the trial Court, notwithstanding that the respondent‟s
ownership over the suit premise was a matter of fact, ought to have taken
cognizance of these rights and protections prior to making its decision. In
these circumstances, I have no hesitation in holding that the interpretation
and procedure employed by the trial Courts was not only incorrect and in
violation of the legislative intent, but also suffers from a complete

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 40 of 66
misreading of the DV Act and virtually amounts to depriving the
daughters-in-law of their statutory right.

35. At this juncture, I am compelled to ask: Were the Trial Courts
justified in passing decrees under Order XII Rule 6 CPC merely because
the appellants/daughters-in-law truthfully did not dispute the fact that the
suit premises were standing in the exclusive name of the in-
laws/respondents, without considering their claim to reside in these
premises under Section 17 of the DV Act?

36. Even if the daughter-in-law had, indeed, admitted to the title of her in-
laws to the suit premises, the validity and import of her admission ought
to have been duly considered by the Trial Court before hurrying to pass a
decree under Order XII Rule 6 CPC. In this regard, I find merit in the
submissions made by Ms. Rajkotia that the provisions of Order XII Rule
6 CPC cannot be assigned a hypertechnical interpretation that just because
there is an admission of title, the suit must be decreed especially since in
our country, commonly, the title of properties which are inhabited by
patrilocal families, may often stand in the names of the father-in-law or
the mother-in-law. However, in the light of the settled position of law that
an admission ought to be read as a whole, the claim of the daughters-in-
law for a statutory right accruing to them, which right serves the purpose
of ensuring that they are not rendered homeless, also needs to be taken
into consideration. Thus, when determining the validity and import of an
admission made before it, the Court must decide, after considering the
effect of the entire body of pleadings and arguments made before it,
whether the admission conclusively lays the dispute to rest. It was,
therefore, incumbent upon the trial Court to assess the effect of the

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 41 of 66
admissions made by the daughters-in-law in the context of all the
pleadings on record including her claim of right of residence and the
sanctity thereof, her allegations regarding the collusive nature of the suit
and the bitter acrimony between the parties. Another fundamental
principle for a Court to keep in mind at the time of decreeing a suit on an
admission, as laid down by this Court in Preeti Satija (supra), is whether
the party making the admission can explain this admission during the
course of the trial. Since the admissions in these appeals were regarding
the title of the suit premises, it is pertinent to note that in most of these
cases, fairly, the daughters-in-law are not even claiming title rights to the
suit premises; although, in some of these appeals the daughters-in-law are
claiming title rights by virtue of their husbands being entitled to a share in
the suit premises or the suit premises having been purchased out of joint
family funds in which the daughter-in-law, through her husband, has a
claim as well. Therefore, it cannot be said that the admissions of these
daughters-in-law could not be explained by them or were unambiguous in
nature. Yet, I find that in most cases the trial Court has proceeded by
reading only one some parts of the written statement where the daughter-
in-law admitted to the suit premises being in the name of the respondent
without giving due regard to the specific pleading made by her, in the
very same written statement, that irrespective of the title documents being
in the exclusive name of the in-laws, her husband and she had a right in
the suit premises.

37. Reading these judicial admissions in isolation, as has been done in the
present appeals, can lead to another anomalous situation; decrees under
Order XII Rule 6 CPC would become a norm in civil proceedings which

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 42 of 66
would inevitably trigger an endless loop of litigations for aggrieved
persons and eventually sweep their rights and protections under the DV
Act, beneath the carpet. The judicial admissions of an aggrieved person,
therefore, cannot be read in isolation in order to decree a suit under Order
XII Rule 6 CPC, by ignoring his/her legal rights; doing so would
contravene the very scheme of the Act as, in the fact scenario of these
appeals, it would leave the daughter-in-law and her dependent children
without any shelter till the DV Court examines her entitlement to an
alternate accommodation. Such practice, as rightly contended by the
appellants, would imply that even though the trial Court remains
conscious of the rights of an aggrieved woman under the DV Act, it does
not protect the same on the ground of a judicial admission made by her,
even though such admission does not bear any impact on her right of
residence under the DV Act which is her absolute right.

38. Even if the trial Court was of the view that the in-laws should not be
made to undergo trial on account of their old age, it was required to
consider and adequately deal with the effect of the protections given to
the daughters-in-law under the DV Act and their other defences under the
dictates of „procedure established by law‟. Ultimately, an admission of
title by the daughter-in-law and the power of the trial Court to pass a
decree on such admission, does not mean that the trial Court should
necessarily pass a decree under Order XII Rule 6 CPC. The Courts cannot
also simply breeze through these crucial considerations to render a „quick
judgment‟, especially since the passing of such a decree would result in
rendering the daughters-in-law and their dependent children without a
shelter. Although the respondents are correct in contending that

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 43 of 66
admissions can be inferred from the pleadings and evidence and need not
be explicitly part of the proceedings where the decree on admission is
sought, I find that even if the daughter-in-law is unable to and does not
seriously dispute the title of her in-laws, a decree under Order XII Rule 6
CPC could not have been passed without even considering her rights
under the DV Act or by dismissively directing her to approach the DV
Court for protection of her rights under the DV Act.

39. Relevant to this discussion is the decision of the Supreme Court in
Maria Margarida (supra), heavily relied upon by the respondents in
support of their various contentions; which I find, instead, accurately
sums up the procedural irregularities ailing the decree passed by the trial
Court.

“66. A title suit for possession has two parts – first, adjudication of
title, and second, adjudication of possession. If the title dispute is
removed and the title is established in one or the other, then, in
effect, it becomes a suit for ejectment where the Defendant must
plead and prove why he must not be ejected.

67. In an action for recovery of possession of immovable property, or
for protecting possession thereof, upon the legal title to the property
being established, the possession or occupation of the property by a
person other than the holder of the legal title will be presumed to
have been under and in subordination to the legal title, and it will be
for the person resisting a claim for recovery of possession or
claiming a right to continue in possession, to establish that he has
such a right. To put it differently, wherever pleadings and documents
establish title to a particular property and possession is in question,
it will be for the person in possession to give sufficiently detailed
pleadings, particulars and documents to support his claim in order
to continue in possession.

68. In order to do justice, it is necessary to direct the parties to give
all details of pleadings with particulars. Once the title is prima facie
established, it is for the person who is resisting the title holder’s

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 44 of 66
claim to possession to plead with sufficient particularity on the basis
of his claim to remain in possession and place before the Court all
such documents as in the ordinary course of human affairs are
expected to be there. Only if the pleadings are sufficient, would an
issue be struck and the matter sent to trial, where the onus will be on
him to prove the averred facts and documents.

69. The person averring a right to continue in possession shall, as
far as possible, give a detailed particularized specific pleading along
with documents to support his claim and details of subsequent
conduct which establish his possession.

70. It would be imperative that one who claims possession must give
all such details as enumerated hereunder. They are only illustrative
and not exhaustive.

(a) who is or are the owner or owners of the property;

(b) title of the property;

(c) who is in possession of the title documents

(d) identity of the claimant or claimants to possession;

(e) the date of entry into possession;

(f) how he came into possession -whether he purchased the property
or inherited or got the same in gift or by any other method;

(g) in case he purchased the property, what is the consideration; if
he has taken it on rent, how much is the rent, license fee or lease
amount;

(h) If taken on rent, license fee or lease -then insist on rent deed,
license deed or lease deed;

(i) who are the persons in possession/occupation or otherwise living
with him, in what capacity; as family members, friends or servants
etc.;

(j) subsequent conduct, i.e., any event which might have extinguished
his entitlement to possession or caused shift therein; and

(k) basis of his claim that not to deliver possession but continue in
possession.

71. Apart from these pleadings, the Court must insist on
documentary proof in support of the pleadings. All those documents
would be relevant which come into existence after the transfer of title
or possession or the encumbrance as is claimed. While dealing with
the civil suits, at the threshold, the Court must carefully and
critically examine pleadings and documents.

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 45 of 66

72. The Court will examine the pleadings for specificity as also the
supporting material for sufficiency and then pass appropriate
orders.

73. Discovery and production of documents and answers to
interrogatories, together with an approach of considering what in
ordinary course of human affairs is more likely to have been the
probability, will prevent many a false claims or defences from
sailing beyond the stage for issues.

74. If the pleadings do not give sufficient details, they will not raise
an issue, and the Court can reject the claim or pass a decree on
admission.”

40. Thus, the principle set down in Maria Margarida (supra) is that in a
suit for possession, even if there is no dispute regarding the title, the
statutory rights of the person, if any, based on which he/she claims to be
in possession must also be considered. In these appeals, prima facie at the
very first instance of the admission by the daughter-in-law, the title
dispute stood removed and the suit proceeded to assume the role of a suit
for ejectment. At this stage, it was necessary for the trial Courts to
consider whether notwithstanding the title existing in favour of their in-
laws, the daughters-in-law could still, by claiming that it was a shared
household and by relying on the residence orders passed in their favour
under the DV Act, claim that they were entitled to continue residing in the
suit premises. The observations in Maria Margarida (supra) itself show
that only in the event when pleadings in a suit do not provide sufficient
details leading to raising of an issue, can the Court reject the claim of the
daughter-in-law or pass a decree on admission. In most of these cases,
despite the daughters-in-law having raised a legitimate defence to their

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 46 of 66
ejectment on the ground of a protective right existing in their favour, the
trial Court proceeded to decree the suit by summarily dismissing their
defence. No doubt the purpose of Order XII Rule 6 CPC is to shorten
unnecessary litigation, but that does not mean that the defence of the party
making the admission can be ignored even if there is proof that they are
not a sham. In the present case, it can by no stretch of imagination be said
that the defences raised by the daughters-in-law are, in any manner, a
sham. In fact, the defences raised by all of them are stemming from a
valid right arising in their favour under a statute.

41. Therefore, when I compare the procedure actually followed by the
trial Court with the phrase “procedure established by law” as employed in
Section 17(2) of the DV Act, I find that the impugned decrees do suffer
from an evident hastiness as they fail to address the legitimate claims
raised by the daughters-in-law under the DV Act. While the trial Court
had the power to pass a decree under Order XII Rule 6 CPC, it also had
the duty and requisite power to balance the rights of both the parties; yet
the proceedings before the trial Court have continued in a manner blind to
the rights accruing to daughters-in-law under the DV Act. Merely because
the rights accruing to an aggrieved person under the DV Act is in the
nature of a special protection, and not of a proprietary right, the trial
Court was not justified in passing a decree which, in effect, whittles away
such protection. Our society, already mired by its painful history of
centuries‟ long oppression of women, cannot afford to brush aside the
provisions of Sections 17 and 19 of the DV Act by following an
oppressively technical application of the CPC. The phrase „procedure
established by law‟ as employed in Section 17(2) of the DV Act cannot be

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 47 of 66
interpreted in a manner so as to defeat the very Act within which it is
nestled.

42. The trial Courts, therefore, have erroneously proceeded to pass the
decrees under Order XII Rule 6 CPC by not only failing to appreciate the
specific submission of the appellants, while admitting the title of the
respondents, that the suit premises was joint family property but also by
completely losing sight of the spirit of the DV Act. It was imperative for
the trial Court to be sensitive to the surrounding circumstances and
reasons leading to enactment of the DV Act, being a social welfare
legislation, while dealing with the in-laws‟ proprietary claim. The trial
Court was also required to properly consider both the procedure as set
down under Order XII Rule 6 CPC as well as the rights of the daughters-
in-law under Section 17 of the DV Act before passing the impugned
judgments. Moreover, the trial Court could not have lost sight of the fact
that these disputes, involving friction and heightened tension between
family members, required the Court to apply and interpret family laws
and social welfare legislations in a manner whereby the statutory rights
and protections afforded to both the parties were balanced. In these
litigations, which are usually a battleground with embittered family
members hotly contesting each other‟s assertions and trying to one up the
other‟s claim of abuse, the Court ought to have proceeded with greater
sensitivity, and taken into consideration the effect of the rights granted to
the aggrieved person under the DV Act, while adjudicating the opposing
claims raised therein.

43. Another shortcoming in the procedure followed by the trial Court is
the non-impleadment of the husbands in some of the matters, prior to

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 48 of 66
passing of a judgment under Order XII Rule 6. As the claim of the
daughter-in-law arises out of her relationship with her husband, the stand
of the husband was certainly crucial to these suits for possession before
the trial Court. Despite this position, I am constrained to note that in cases
where the in-laws had not impleaded their sons, the trial Court instead of
impleading the husbands by exercising their suo motu powers under
Order I Rule 10(2) CPC, proceeded to decree the suit without taking the
stand of the husband on record, which I find was improper.

44. On the other hand, in cases where the husband has been impleaded as
a party defendant, an additional serious infirmity noticed is that the trial
Court proceeded to decree the suit under Order XII Rule 6 CPC on an
admission made by the husband and not by the daughter-in-law. No doubt
that generally the court, while exercising its powers under Order XII Rule
6 CPC, may rely on the admissions by a co-defendant, but in cases like
the present where the DV proceedings between the parties are already
pending, the admissions made by the husband could not at all be relied
upon; when such bitter acrimony already exists between the parties, it is
but obvious that the husbands would be motivated by their desire to
somehow oust their wives from the matrimonial home. Had the trial Court
appreciated this nuance, it would not have deemed it appropriate to decree
the suits on the basis of the admissions made by the husband. Previously,
in paragraphs 19,20 and 21 of its decision in Kavita Gambhir (supra) this
Court has addressed the practice of non-impleadment of the husband in
proceedings of such nature by observing as under:

“19. As far as the defendant is concerned a reading of her written
statement would show that she is claiming the right to be in

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 49 of 66
occupation of the first floor through her husband only who was
already living there when he had brought her „doli‟ there. The
learned trial Judge has also observed in the impugned judgment that:
“Even according to the plaintiffs she was not a tenant rather a
permissive user, being the wife of the son of the plaintiffs.” For the
defendant the first floor of the suit property was her matrimonial
home from where the plaintiffs cannot evict her. For ousting her from
there the plaintiffs have to first oust their son who only had brought
her there and it is the plaintiffs’ own case that they had permitted
their son to live there with his wife. It is not the case of the plaintiffs
that they had terminated the arrangement whatsoever they had with
their son under which he was occupying their property with his
family. It is also not their case that they had asked their son to move
out from their house lock stock and barrel i.e. along with his
cantankerous wife and children. So, the plaintiffs cannot simply ask
their daughter-in-law alone to move out of their house. And if
actually the plaintiffs have revoked the permission/licence of their
son to stay in their house then they have to obtain a decree of
possession against their son because of his failure to surrender
vacant possession of their property in his occupation and only in
that way they can get their son’s family also evicted. Unless the
plaintiffs get a declaration against their own son Anil Gambhir that
he having failed to put them in possession of their property by
moving out of the first floor of their property along with his family
despite revocation of the permission which they had given to him to
stay on the first floor they were entitled to get him and his family
evicted through a decree of the Court they cannot claim that the
occupation of their daughter-in-law Kavita Gambhir was
unauthorised. Now, whether the plaintiffs’ son was living there as a
tenant or as a licensee or in any other capacity could be known
only if he had been impleaded in the suit by the plaintiffs and in
whatever capacity their son was permitted by them to occupy the
first floor the ‘privity’ was between them and their son and not
between them and their daughter-in-law. They have, however,
chosen not to implead him. In my view the defendant’s husband
was certainly a necessary party and in fact the suit should have
been filed only against him and if an order of eviction had been
passed against him that would have bound his wife also because
she is not claiming any independent right. This position was not
disputed even by the learned Counsel for the defendant during the
course of arguments.

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 50 of 66

20. In my view, non-impleadment of their son in this suit by the
plaintiffs is a fraud on the right of the defendant to stay in her
matrimonial home being played by her husband in collusion with
his parents. Learned Counsel for the plaintiffs had submitted that the
defendant’s matrimonial home could be where her husband was
living and the suit property had ceased to be her matrimonial home
after her husband shifted to NOIDA. So, what was being suggested
was that the defendant could go to occupy the house in NOIDA where
her husband is staying. I do not agree with this submission. The
husband may have many places to reside, whether as a tenant or
licensee or in any other capacity and in each such place the wife also
gets the right to stay claiming that to be her matrimonial home so
long as their jural relationship as husband-wife subsists. It is also not
necessary that both husband-wife must be staying in a particular
house for it being labelled as the matrimonial home of the wife. In
this regard I may refer to the views of Bombay High Court in a
judgment which was cited by the Counsel for the plaintiffs before me.
That judgment is 2008 (5) Bom CR 149, Shammi Nagpal v. Sudhir
Nagpal. In that case one of the points under consideration was as to
what is meant by the expression „matrimonial home‟ and it was
observed that, “In other words, the „matrimonial home‟ is the
domicile where persons live together actually or constructively, as
man and wife.” Now, in the present case if the plaintiffs had
impleaded their son Anil in this suit only then, as observed already
also, it could be known as to in what capacity he was staying on the
first floor of the suit property, whether as a tenant, licensee or in any
other capacity and whether that right to occupy the first floor was
subsisting or had stood determined. In his absence it cannot be
decided by the Court that his occupation was only permissive or as a
gratuitous licensee of his parents. The plaintiffs have also not
pleaded that they had revoked the permission given to their son to
occupy the first floor of their house. All these facts are required to
be gone into since if the plaintiffs’ permission to their son to occupy
the first floor, if at all his possession was permissive, has not been
revoked the first floor would continue to be the defendant’s
matrimonial home.

21. The reason given by the learned Counsel for the plaintiffs for
the non-impleadment of their son in this suit was that their son
having voluntarily left their property they were not obliged to obtain
any declaration against him that he was an unauthorised occupant

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 51 of 66
when he actually was not no more in physical possession and no
decree of possession was required to be obtained against him. I,
however, do not find any substance in this submission also of the
learned Counsel for the plaintiffs that since the husband of the
defendant had shifted to NOIDA before the filing of this suit he was
not required to be sued. I do not agree with this submission. As
noticed already, in the judgment of Bombay High Court relied
upon by the Counsel for the plaintiffs it had been held that for a
house to be called a matrimonial home of the wife it is not
necessary that the possession of both husband and wife has to be
actual. It can be constructive also. Here, in the cross-examination of
plaintiff No. 1 he had also admitted that after they all had moved out
of the suit property the defendant’s son had lived with the defendant
in the suit property. No doubt he had also clarified that that was
during the pendency of conciliation proceedings before the Legal Aid
Cell at Patiala House Courts but that shows that the defendant’s
husband was still treating the place where his wife was residing to be
her matrimonial home as otherwise he could have invited her to live
with him in his house at NOIDA claiming the same to be her
matrimonial home.”

45. Even the respondents‟ plea that the daughters-in-law were merely
their gratuitous licensees and, on that account, were liable to be ejected
when the permission to reside in the suit premises came to be revoked,
glosses over the statutory rights accruing to the daughter-in-law under the
DV Act. Even if this plea of the respondents were to be accepted, this
would have absolutely no bearing on the claims raised by the daughters-
in-law under the DV Act. In the sociological construct of the Indian
society, most persons and their spouses tend to reside with their parents in
order to care for them and for the purpose of establishing a strong familial
support system; one therefore has to infer that the legislature was aware of
this ground reality while enacting a statute which specifically seeks to set
up a protection mechanism for victims of domestic violence across the
length and breadth of our nation. Yet, instead of carefully weighing in this

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 52 of 66
protection afforded to the daughter-in-law, I find that the trial Court
ascribed undue importance to the quality of permissiveness or
gratuitousness of her possession, which in my opinion, could not have
been used to defeat the spirit of the right given to the daughter-in-law
under the DV Act.

46. Once it is found that the procedure adopted by the trial Court was
erroneous, the question is – what next? Confronted by the fact scenario of
these disputes and the error in the impugned judgments, what is the
appropriate course to adopt in order for the trial Court to ensure justice in
these appeals? Once the right of the daughter-in-law to reside in the suit
premises is acknowledged, should the in-laws be compelled to wait till the
proceedings under the DV Act are brought to a logical conclusion?
Conversely, keeping in view their old age coupled with the multifarious
medical problems being faced by them, and the provisions of the Senior
Citizens Act which was enacted to ensure that parents and senior citizens
are not made to suffer by their children, should the legislature devise a
legal framework to prevent them from being forced to reside with their
estranged daughters-in-law in a property which, as on date, stands
exclusively in their names? Alternatively, as has been the case in RFA
No. 380 of 2019, should the daughters-in-law be directed to approach the
Magistrate by instituting independent proceedings under the DV Act,
while decreeing the suit and directing their eviction?

47. To my mind, the answer to this quagmire is contained in the
comprehensive provisions of the DV Act itself, specifically in Sections 19
and 26 which read as under:-

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 53 of 66

“19. Residence orders.-(1) While disposing of an application under
sub-section (1) of section 12, the Magistrate may, on being satisfied
that domestic violence has taken place, pass a residence order –

(a) restraining the respondent from dispossessing or in any other
manner disturbing the possession of the aggrieved person from the
shared household, whether or not the respondent has a legal or
equitable interest in the shared household;

(b) directing the respondent to remove himself from the shared
household;

(c) restraining the respondent or any of his relatives from entering
any portion of the shared household in which the aggrieved person
resides;

(d) restraining the respondent from alienating or disposing off the
shared household or encumbering the same;

(e) restraining the respondent from renouncing his rights in the
shared household except with the leave of the Magistrate; or

(f) directing the respondent to secure same level of alternate
accommodation for the aggrieved person as enjoyed by her in the
shared household or to pay rent for the same, if the circumstances so
require:

Provided that no order under clause (b) shall be passed against any
person who is a woman.”

“26. Relief in other suits and legal proceedings.-

(1) Any relief available under sections 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 may
also be sought in any legal proceeding, before a civil court, family
court or a criminal court, affecting the aggrieved person and the
respondent whether such proceeding was initiated before or after the
commencement of this Act.

(2) Any relief referred to in sub-section (1) may be sought for in
addition to and along with any other relief that the aggrieved person
may seek in such suit or legal proceeding before a civil or criminal
court.

(3) In case any relief has been obtained by the aggrieved person in
any proceedings other than a proceeding under this Act, she shall be
bound to inform the Magistrate of the grant of such relief.”

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 54 of 66

48. The DV Act, as has often been iterated, is a confluence between civil
and criminal laws, which means that to confine it to any single branch of
jurisprudence would be erroneous. It is in Section 26 of the DV Act where
this point of intersection manifests, which provision also shows the
specific intent of the legislature to ensure that the claims raised by the
daughters-in-law before the DV Court can also be raised before the Civil
Court, and that both the courts hold equal jurisdiction to grant the reliefs
sought by an aggrieved person under the DV Act. The purpose of this
provision was to ensure that an aggrieved person could claim the benefit
of the DV Act in proceedings of a different nature and was not rendered
helpless and without remedy, simply because a special Court had been
constituted to deal with her claims arising under the DV Act. Section 26
in no way bars the powers of a Court, seized by a civil proceeding
affecting an aggrieved person and the respondent under the DV Act, to
grant reliefs to the aggrieved person under Sections 18 to 22 of the DV
Act in the civil proceedings itself. Essentially, this provision presents an
avenue to the daughter-in-law to claim her right of residence in the civil
proceedings pending between her and her in-laws, provided that they are
„respondents‟ within the meaning of Section 2(q) of the Act. Section 26,
therefore, serves to build a bridge between civil and criminal proceedings
in cases involving a frequent interplay of civil and criminal laws, such as
matrimonial disputes, in order to ensure that aggrieved persons are not
compelled to run from pillar to post while navigating the labyrinth of
complicated legal procedures to seek enforcement of their rights under the
DV Act. Evidently, the legislature never intended that the protection of
right of residence granted to a daughter-in-law under the DV Act should

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 55 of 66
cease to apply merely because a suit seeking possession of the premises
had been filed by the in-laws. Section 26, thus, is proof of the extent to
which the legislature intended to protect the rights given to an aggrieved
person under Sections 18-22 of the DV Act and it would be wrong to hold
that the daughters-in-law can be denied these rights without even properly
ascertaining the merit of their claim therefor.

49. Against this backdrop, I am of the view that the only way to strike a
balance between the beneficiaries of the DV Act and the Senior Citizens
Act, both of which are special statutes enacted to address the problems of
two different vulnerable groups, i.e., the daughter-in-law and their
children viz. the aged in-laws, is by resorting to Section 26 of the DV Act.
In fact the Supreme Court made the following observations in Vaishali
Abhimanyu Joshi (supra) when considering the matter of interpreting
Section 26 of the DV Act any time domestic violence proceedings as also
legal proceedings of a differing nature would arise out of the same
domestic relationship:

“26. Order 50 CPC enumerates the provisions which shall
not extend to the Provincial Small Cause Court. The
provisions which have been excepted from applicability of
the Small Cause Court do not include Order 8, thus,
counterclaim can very well be filed by the defendant in a suit
before the Small Cause Court.

…..

39. The learned counsel for the appellant has placed
reliance on the judgments of this Court in Allahabad
Bank v. Canara Bank [Allahabad Bank v. Canara Bank,
(2000) 4 SCC 406] Solidaire India Ltd. v. Fairgrowth
Financial Services Ltd. [Solidaire India Ltd. v. Fairgrowth
Financial Services Ltd., (2001) 3 SCC 71] and Bank of
India v. Ketan Parekh [Bank of India v. Ketan Parekh,

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 56 of 66
(2008) 8 SCC 148] for the proposition that a special Act
overrides a general Act and when a conflict is found in two
special Acts, the special Act latter in point of time has to
prevail. He further contends that dominant purpose of the
Act has to be looked into while deciding the question as to
which of the Act shall prevail over the other. In the facts of
the present case, especially Section 26 as inserted in the
State of Maharashtra by Maharashtra Act 24 of 1984, it is
not necessary to enter into the issue of conflict between the
1887 Act and the 2005 Act. We have already observed above
that the suit in the nature of the present suit was cognizable
before the Judge, Small Cause Court, hence, in the said suit
determination of claim of the appellant seeking a right of
residence under Section 19 is also not excluded from
consideration. It is further to be noted that the 2005 Act was
enacted to secure a social purpose. The provisions of the Act
have to be construed widely. This Court in Hiral P.

Harsora v. Kusum Narottamdas Harsora [Hiral P.
Harsora v. Kusum Narottamdas Harsora, (2016) 10 SCC
165 : (2017) 1 SCC (Civ) 468 : (2017) 1 SCC (Cri) 1] had
occasion to consider the ambit and scope of the 2005 Act. In
para 25, the following has been stated by this Court: (SCC p.

190)
“25. When we come to Section 26 of the Act, the
sweep of the Act is such that all the innovative
reliefs available under Sections 18 to 22 may also
be sought in any legal proceeding before a civil
court, family court or criminal court affecting the
aggrieved person and the respondent. The
proceeding in the civil court, family court or
criminal court may well include female members of
a family, and reliefs sought in those legal
proceedings would not be restricted by the
definition of “respondent” in the 2005 Act. Thus,
an invidious discrimination will result, depending
upon whether the aggrieved person chooses to
institute proceedings under the 2005 Act or
chooses to add to the reliefs available in either a
pending proceeding or a later proceeding in a
civil court, family court or criminal court. It is
clear that there is no intelligible differentia

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 57 of 66
between a proceeding initiated under the 2005 Act
and proceeding initiated in other fora under other
Acts, in which the self-same reliefs grantable
under this Act, which are restricted to an adult
male person, are grantable by the other fora also
against female members of a family. …”

40. Section 26 of the 2005 Act has to be interpreted in a
manner to effectuate the very purpose and object of the Act.
Unless the determination of claim by an aggrieved person
seeking any order as contemplated by the 2005 Act is
expressly barred from consideration by a civil court, this
Court shall be loath to read in bar in consideration of any
such claim in any legal proceeding before the civil court.
When the proceeding initiated by the plaintiff in the Judge,
Small Cause Court alleged termination of gratuitous licence
of the appellant and prays for restraining the appellant from
using the suit flat and permit the plaintiff to enter and use
the flat, the right of residence as claimed by the appellant is
interconnected with such determination and refusal of
consideration of claim of the appellant as raised in her
counterclaim shall be nothing but denying consideration of
claim as contemplated by Section 26 of the 2005 Act which
shall lead to multiplicity of proceedings, which cannot be the
object and purpose of the 2005 Act.”

50. Thus, the Supreme Court in Vaishali Abhimanyu Joshi (supra) not
only held that any relief available under Sections 18-22 of the DV Act
may also be sought by the aggrieved person in any legal proceedings
affecting her whether instituted in a civil court, or a family court or a
criminal court but it also held that undoubtedly, the trial Court is
empowered to grant as well as mould the reliefs, in accordance with the
provisions of the DV Act. Therefore while dealing with these appeals,
keeping in view the hardships claimed by the parties, it was requisite for
the trial Courts to direct impleadment of the husband, when he was not
impleaded in these suits to enable passing of an appropriate order against

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 58 of 66
him under Section 19(1)(f) of the DV Act. In this regard, Ms. Luthra has
vehemently urged that once domestic violence proceedings had been
initiated by the daughters-in-law, the civil court could not have exercised
its powers under Section 26 of the DV Act to grant any relief to them as
this would lead to multiplicity of orders and decrees in favour of the
daughters-in-law, out of the same claim. However, I am unable to accept
her contention as it overlooks the fact that Section 26(3) of the DV Act
specifically provides for such an eventuality and makes it incumbent on
the daughter-in-law to inform the DV Court in case any relief is obtained
by her under the DV Act, in any proceeding other than the proceedings
before the DV Court.

51. Significantly, the impugned judgments reveal the trial Court‟s failure
to appreciate its own powers under Section 26 of the DV Act.
Consequently, the aggrieved persons, despite being entitled to protection
under the DV Act, have been virtually rendered roofless by these
impugned judgments when they approach the Courts, which in turn also
appear to be unclear about the precise nature of their powers and
responsibilities under the DV Act. To put it differently, the daughters-in-
law continue to harbour under the mistaken belief, augmented by the
arguments of the in-laws and the misinterpretation of the DV Act by the
trial Courts, that their rights can only be claimed before the DV Court. In
reality Section 26 makes it clear that, irrespective of any pending
proceedings before the DV Court, daughters-in-law can claim the reliefs
under Sections 18-22 of the DV Act before any other court, including the
Civil Court, in any proceedings instituted by them or the in-laws. In fact, I
find no impediment to a civil court exercising its powers under Section 26

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 59 of 66
to mould the reliefs, despite the pendency of the domestic violence
proceedings before the DV Court, if a case was made out to pass
directions under Section 19(1)(f) to prevent the possibility of a protracted
litigation. In conclusion, the findings of the trial Courts decreeing these
suits under Order XII Rule 6 CPC, without considering the rights and
claims of the appellants under the DV Act as also their defence that,
notwithstanding the title documents being in favour of the respondents,
the suit premises is still a joint family property, cannot be sustained and
are, accordingly, set aside.

52. In the light of my findings that as on date the domestic violence
proceedings where residence orders qua the suit premises have been
claimed by the appellants are pending and have, in fact, been granted in
many of the cases, this Court was confronted with two possible directions
in these appeals, both of which were carefully examined to ascertain
which course would further the cause of justice. The first possible
direction was that this Court could have directed the trial Court to stay
civil proceedings of this nature instituted by in-laws and, in the
interregnum, direct them to move an appropriate application before the
DV Court for modification or alteration of the interim order protecting the
daughters-in-law‟s right of residence and praying for a direction to the
husbands to provide their wives with a suitable alternate accommodation
under Section 19(1)(f) of the DV Act. In the alternative, these appeals can
be remanded back to the trial Courts for fresh adjudication of the suits,
along with a direction to ensure that the defences raised by the daughters-
in-law are duly considered by the trial Court in exercise of its jurisdiction
under Section 26 of the DV Act, and adjudicate the claims of both the

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 60 of 66
parties by duly considering the individual merit thereon. On giving my
thoughtful consideration to these two possible directions, I am of the view
that directing the in-laws to approach the DV Court to pass further orders
after considering Section 19(1)(f) of the DV Act would cause further
delay in adjudicating the claims of the parties; in the light of several
factors, viz. the advanced age of the respondents and their vehement
opposition to residing with their daughters-in-law owing to the existing
acrimony between them, such a direction would in effect compel the in-
laws to spend the final years of their lives battling protracted legal
proceedings while continuing to live with their daughters-in-law in their
own homes against their will, which would completely defeat the purpose
of justice.

53. While deciding on an appropriate course of action, I was also
conscious of the need to forestall the possibility of two different courts
being made to adjudicate on a dispute arising out of the same issue, but
seeking separate reliefs. It also cannot be lost sight of that in most of these
appeals, the appellant has taken upon herself the additional responsibility
of single-handedly bringing up her minor children, in the light of her
domestic dispute with her husband and her in-laws. Ultimately, in the
interest of justice, I am of the view that these appeals ought to be
remanded back to the trial Courts for fresh adjudication of the suits,
which shall be decided by substantively considering the defences raised
by the daughters-in-law. It is reiterated that it will be incumbent upon the
Courts to consider the facts of each case and examine whether a case is
made out to mould the reliefs under Section 19 of the DV Act, before
ordering the appellants‟ dispossession from the suit premises. In order to

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 61 of 66
make this direction effective in each appeal, the trial Court would
necessarily have to implead the appellant‟s husband if he is not already a
party to the suit, so that in case the Court is of the opinion that despite the
residence order subsisting in the appellant‟s favour or the statutory rights
claimed by her under the DV Act, the hardships faced by the respondents
warrant her eviction, then appropriate orders can be passed under Section
19(1)(f) of the DV Act to provide her with an alternate accommodation by
exercising its powers under Section 26 of the DV Act. This, in my
opinion, is the only interpretation which forwards a purposive
construction of the DV Act as well as the Senior Citizens Act, while also
balancing the rights of the senior citizens/in-laws as against the rights of
the aggrieved persons/daughters-in-law.

54. At this stage reference may also be made to a recent decision dated
29.11.2019 passed by a Coordinate Bench of this Court in Vinay Verma
vs. Kanika Pasricha Anr. CM(M) 1582/2018 in which case, even
though there was no pending domestic violence proceedings under the
DV Act which is the primary issue arising in the present appeals, some
broad guidelines have been laid down to determine as to who should bear
the obligation of providing alternate accommodation to the daughter-in-
law; whether it should be on the in-laws or the husband under Section
19(1)(f) of the DV Act. The guidelines, set down in paragraph 46 of the
decision read asunder:

“1. The court/tribunal has to first ascertain the nature of the
relationship between the parties and the son’s/daughter’s
family.

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 62 of 66

2. If the case involves eviction of a daughter in law, the court
has to also ascertain whether the daughter-in-law was living
as part of a joint family.

3. If the relationship is acrimonious, then the parents ought to
be permitted to seek eviction of the son/daughter-in-law or
daughter/son-in-law from their premises. In such
circumstances, the obligation of the husband to maintain the
wife would continue in terms of the principles under the DV
Act.

4. If the relationship between the parents and the son are
peaceful or if the parents are seen colluding with their son,
then, an obligation to maintain and to provide for the shelter
for the daughter-in-law would remain both upon the in-laws
and the husband especially if they were living as part of a
joint family. In such a situation, while parents would be
entitled to seek eviction of the daughter-in-law from their
property, an alternative reasonable accommodation would
have to be provided to her.

5. In case the son or his family is ill-treating the parents then
the parents would be entitled to seek unconditional eviction
from their property so that they can live a peaceful life and
also put the property to use for their generating income and
for their own expenses for daily living.

6. If the son has abandoned both the parents and his own
wife/children, then if the son’s family was living as part of a
joint family prior to the breakdown of relationships, the
parents would be entitled to seek possession from their
daughter-in-law, however, for a reasonable period they would
have to provide some shelter to the daughter-in-law during
which time she is able to seek her remedies against her
husband.”

55. Before I conclude I may note that in some of the appeals, i.e., in
RFA Nos. 222/2019, 604/2019 and 609/2019, unlike the other appeals,
there are no residence orders passed by the DV Court and, in fact, in RFA

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 63 of 66
222/2019, the DV Court has rendered a finding at the interim stage that
the suit premises cannot be treated as a shared household. However,
considering that the DV Act seeks to ensure that an aggrieved person, the
appellant/daughter-in-law in these appeals, is not rendered without shelter
during the pendency of the domestic violence proceedings and that these
suits have been decreed by the trial Courts solely on the premise of
ownership rights of the respondent over the suit premises, without
appreciating the effect of the statutory rights under the DV Act claimed
by the appellant; I am of the view that respondent‟s rights as well as the
nature of the appellant‟s claim under the DV Act ought to be considered
by the trial Courts prior to passing a decree evicting them from the suit
premises.

Directions

56. In these circumstances, the impugned judgments cannot be sustained
and are accordingly set aside. The matters are remanded back to the trial
Court for fresh adjudication in accordance with the directions given
hereinbelow:

(i) At the first instance, in all cases where the respondent‟s son/the
appellant‟s husband has not been impleaded, the trial Court shall direct
his impleadment by invoking its suo motu powers under Order I Rule 10
CPC.

(ii) The trial Court will then consider whether the appellant had made any
unambiguous admission about the respondent‟s ownership rights in
respect of the suit premises; if she has and her only defence to being
dispossessed therefrom is her right of residence under the DV Act, then

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 64 of 66
the trial Court shall, before passing a decree of possession on the sole
premise of ownership rights, ensure that in view of the subsisting rights of
the appellant under the DV Act, she is provided with an alternate
accommodation as per Section 19(1)(f) of the DV Act, which will
continue to be provided to her till the subsistence of her matrimonial
relationship.

(iii) In cases where the appellant specifically disputes the exclusive
ownership rights of the respondents over the suit premises
notwithstanding the title documents in their favour, the trial Court, while
granting her an opportunity to lead evidence in support of her claim, will
be entitled to pass interim orders on applications moved by the
respondents, directing the appellant to vacate the suit premises subject to
the provision of a suitable alternate accommodation to her under Section
19(1)(f) of the DV Act, which direction would also be subject to the final
outcome of the suit.

(iv) While determining as to whether the appellant‟s husband or the in-
laws bears the responsibility of providing such alternate accommodation
to the appellant, if any, the trial Court may be guided by paragraph 46 of
the decision in Vinay Verma (supra).

(v) The trial Court shall ensure that adequate safeguards are put in place
to ensure that the direction for alternate accommodation is not rendered
meaningless and that a shelter is duly secured for the appellant, during the
subsistence of her matrimonial relationship.

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 65 of 66

(vi) This exercise of directing the appellant to vacate the suit premises
by granting her alternate accommodation will be completed expeditiously
and not later than 6 months from today.

57.The appeals are allowed in the aforesaid terms.

(REKHA PALLI)
JUDGE
DECEMBER 18, 2019
SDP/gm

RFA 222/2019 Conn. Page 66 of 66

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