• Sudha Mishra Vs. Surya Chandra Mishra; Delhi High Court Judgment

  • Sudha Mishra  Versus Surya Chandra Mishra- RFA- 299/2014, Judgment Dated- 25.07.2014, Bench- A.K. Pathak, J, Delhi High Court [Full PDF Judgment].

    8. In S.R. Batra and Anr. vs. Taruna Batra (2007) SCC 169, Supreme Court has held thus :- As regards Section?17(1)?of the Act, in our opinion the wife is only entitled to claim a right to residence in a shared household, and a 'shared household' would only mean the house belonging to or taken on rent by the husband, or the house which belongs to the joint family of which the husband is a member. The property in question in the present case neither belongs to Amit Batra nor was it taken on rent by him nor is it a joint family property of which the husband Amit Batra is a member, it is the exclusive property of appellant No. 2, mother of Amit Batra. Hence it cannot be called a 'shared household'. No doubt, the definition of 'shared household' in Section?2(s)?of the Act is not very happily worded, and appears to be the result of clumsy drafting, but we have to give it an interpretation which is sensible and which does not lead to chaos in society.?

    9. In Shumita Didi Sandhu vs. Sanjay Singh Sandhu and Ors. 174 (2010) DLT 79 (DB), a Division Bench of this Court has held thus :- Insofar as Section 17 of the said Act is concerned, a wife would only be entitled to claim a right of residence in a ‘‘shared household’‘ and such a household would only mean the house belonging to or taken on rent by the husband, or the house which belongs to the joint family of which the husband is a member. The property which neither belongs to the husband  nor is taken on rent by him, nor is it a joint family property in which the husband is a member, cannot be regarded as a ‘‘shared household’‘. Clearly, the property which exclusively belongs to the father-in-law or the mother-in-law or to them both, in which the husband has no right, title or interest, cannot be called a ‘‘shared household’‘. The concept of matrimonial home, as would be applicable in England under the Matrimonial Homes Act, 1967, has no relevance in India.

    10. In Sardar Malkiat Singh vs. Kanwaljit Kaur and Ors. 168(2010) DLT 521, a Single Judge of this Court has held thus :- While the legal position is clear that the husband has a legal and moral obligation to provide residence to his wife, and if the house where the wife lived on being wedded, belongs to her husband, it would certainly be treated as a ‘‘shared household’‘ or a matrimonial home., there is no such obligation on the father-in-law or the mother-in-law to provide residence to the daughter-in-law. It is also clear that if the house in question belongs to the joint Hindu family, of which the husband is a member, even that would be termed as a ‘‘matrimonial house’‘. In the instant case, no such assertion has been made by the respondent No. 1 and as a matter of fact, it is fairly conceded that the house stands in the name of the appellant, her father-in-law. This would not, in my view, vest any right in the respondent No. 1 to stay indefinitely in the said house by claiming right of residence.

    11. In Neetu Mittal vs. Kanta Mittal 2009 AIR (Del) 72, a Single Judge of this Court has held thus :- A woman can assert her rights, if any, against the property of her husband, but she cannot thrust herself against the parents of her husband, nor can claim a right to live in the house of parents of her husband, against their consult and wishes.

    12. In Barun Kumar Nahar vs. Parul Nahar 2013 (2) AD (Delhi) 517, a Single Judge of this Court has held thus: Testing the present case in the light of aforesaid discussion, the court is of the view that the plaintiff has been able to establish a very strong prima-facie case in his favour. The defendant No. 1 being a daughter-in-law has no right to reside in the subject property which belongs to her father-in-law as the said property is not covered by the definition of 'shared household', the same being neither a joint family property in which her husband is a member, nor it belongs to the defendant No.?2?and is not even a rented accommodation owned by the defendant No2.

    13. The legal position which can be culled out from the above reports is that daughter-in-law has no right to continue to occupy the self acquired property of her parents-in-law against their wishes more so when her husband has no independent right therein nor is living there, as it is not a ?shared household? within the meaning of Section 17(1) of The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Wife is entitled to claim a right in a shared household which means a house belonging to or taken on rent by the husband or the house which belongs to joint family of which husband is a member. Daughter-in-law cannot assert her rights, if any, in the property of her parents-in-law wherein her husband has no right, title or interest. She cannot continue to live in such a house of her parents-in-law against their consent and wishes. In my view, even an adult son or daughter has no legal right to occupy the self acquired property of the parents; against their consent and wishes. A son or daughter if permitted to live in the house occupies the same as a gratuitous licensee and if such license is revoked, he has to vacate the said property.

    14. In this case, overwhelming evidence was produced before the trial court by the respondent that he was the owner of the suit property which was his self acquired property. No evidence has come on record to suggest that the said property was purchased from the joint family funds and the husband of appellant had any share therein, during the life of his father. It has also come on record that husband of appellant is not residing in the suit property along with the appellant. In her affidavit by way of evidence, appellant has deposed that she is residing separately from her husband in one room at the ground floor. No cogent evidence was produced before the trial court nor any such finding has been returned by the trial court that husband of appellant is living in the suit property. Since suit property is self acquired property of the respondent, appellant has no right to continue to occupy the same against the wishes of respondent.

    15. Learned counsel for the appellant has placed reliance on the judgment dated 15th January, 2014 passed in RFA (OS) 24/2012 titled Smt. Preeti Satija vs. Smt. Raj Kumari and Anr. but I find the same to be in the context of different facts. In the said case, disputed questions of facts were raised. However, judgment was passed on admissions, under Order 12 Rule 6 CPC. A Division Bench of this court held that no clear admission was there, thus, the judgment could not have been passed.  Interim order was granted and the suit was directed to be proceeded further. This judgment was also relied before the trial court and was considered and trial court has concluded in view of the conflicting judgments, ruling of S.R. Batra (Supra) cannot be ignored. Furthermore, in Preeti Satija (Supra) matter was remitted back to the learned Single Judge for trial. The view taken by the trial court in this regard cannot be found faulted in view of Supreme Court judgment in S.R.Batra (supra) followed by a Division Bench of this Court in Shumita Didi Sandhu (supra).

    16. For the foregoing reasons, I do not find any illegality or perversity in the impugned judgment and decree. Accordingly, appeal is dismissed. Miscellaneous application is disposed of as infructuous.  

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