The Delhi HC judgment of Jul 2014 that a woman has no right to in-laws’ self-acquired property under Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) has got the stamp of approval of the Supreme court as per this recent news.
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In a recent order, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Uday Umesh Lalit also put an end to years of fighting between the woman, her in-laws and her husband by granting the couple divorce. To safeguard the rights of the single mother and her two children, SC ordered the husband to provide alternate accommodation/property in her name and pay monthly maintenance.
However the judges made it clear, she will get possession of the flat only on vacating the father-in-law’s property.
The last line above is quite interesting in that it has put a condition upon wife (very rare in Indian courts) that she gets the benefit only upon keeping her part of the deal. I think the courts are also finally realizing that if they pass orders which in practice have no consequences for a party who doesn’t follow the order (basically contempt of court), then the whole exercise becomes a futile one.
Rest of the points are quite same and repetitive of the precedent set in Batra vs Batra SC judgment of 2006 which clarified about what constitutes a shared household under DV Act over which a wife may have right of residence.
She claimed that the property was purchased out of joint family funds, and argued that under Domestic Violence Act, the property is a shared household where she has the right to reside.
But the father in law through advocate Prabhjit Jauhar filed a suit for her eviction in 2011 in the Karkardooma Court, arguing in effect that a daughter in law has no automatic right to a property self owned by the father in law, as long as it is not an ancestral home or one purchased with joint funds. Neither the Dv Act nor any other law permit the daughter in law to stay against the in laws wishes, he submitted.