By considering the competing claims arising under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 and the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007, the Delhi High Court has issued certain guidelines to strike a balance.
In the case, Vinay Verma v Kanika Pasricha and another, Justice Prathiba M Singh observed that in several cases, the claim of a daughter-in-law for residence in shared household often conflicted with the right of in-laws for exclusive possession of their home.
The court observed that "While the daughter-in-law‟s right to residence and a roof over her head is extremely important, the parent‟s right to enjoy their own property and earn income from the same is also equally important. There can be multitudinous situations which may arise before Courts wherein a view would have to be taken as to which rights are to be preferred over the other", the Court observed.
"In several cases, these rights have conflicted with each other and they have flooded the Criminal and Civil Courts in abundance", said the Court.
The Court observed that the household was not a "shared household" under Section 2 (s) of the DV Act. The Court said that it was necessary to pass orders for balancing the rights of both parties. The parents were allowed to seek eviction of the daughter-in-law but on condition to pay her monthly sum of Rs. 50,000/- to enable her to find alternate accommodation.
Though the Supreme Court has laid down the principles for defining "shared household" in the 2007 decision in S. R. Batra and Anr. v. Taruna Batra, the Court had no occasion to consider the impact of the Senior Citizens Act, in that case, observed Justice Singh. Following this, several High Court have taken divergent views on the issue regarding wife's claim for residence where the matrimonial home did not belong to the in-laws, noted Justice Prathiba Singh in the judgment
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