Woman cannot claim right over property of in-laws: Delhi court

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New Delhi, Nov 17: A woman has a right over the property of her husband but she cannot claim a right to live in the house of her parents-in-law, a Delhi court has said.

The court made the observation while dismissing an appeal of a woman, who is a doctor in a government hospital here, seeking right of residence in her mother-in-law's house in which her husband does not have any share.

"If it is anybody against whom or against whose property she (woman) can assert her rights, is the husband, but under no circumstances can she thrust herself on the parents of her husband or can claim a right to live in their house against their consult and wishes," Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said.

Woman only can claim right on the property of her husband

The court said she is a working woman and being a doctor, she is in a position to maintain herself.

"Keeping in view the problems and disputes between the parties, allowing the woman to stay in her parents-in-law's house against their wishes would only aggravate the existing domestic problems and create numerous hassles for these senior citizens, which this court will not permit," the judge said.

The court also said even if the woman was permitted by her parents-in-law to live in their house, it does not create any legal right, violation of which would be actionable.

On the contrary, under no circumstances the parents can be made to suffer the burdens of their sons and their estranged daughters-in-law, it said.

The court's observations came while dealing with the appeal of the woman who had contended that her mother-in-law had abused and misused the process of law by making false submissions.

She challenged the trial court's order saying it did not appreciate the fact that her mother-in-law had in connivance with her husband dispossessed her from shared household accommodation in Pitampura.

She had sought to set aside the trial court's order dismissing her plea seeking right to residence in the house owned by her mother-in-law.

The Sessions court noted that the woman's husband was working and residing separately in Chandigarh for the past several years.

The court said the matrimonial house of the woman under the given circumstances was the place where her husband was working and residing and not where she chose to reside of her free will.

"By application of the logic and ratio of the apex court to the facts of this case, I hereby hold that the woman is only entitled to claim the right of residence in a shared household, which, as contemplated under Section 2(s) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, would mean the house belonging to or taken on rent by her husband or the house which belongs to the joint family of which the husband is a member.

"In the present case, the property in question at Pitampura here is the exclusive property of the respondent who is the mother-in-law of the appellant, with her husband having no share in the same, and hence, the property in question in respect of which the appellant is seeking right of residence cannot be called a shared household within the meaning of Section 2(s) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act," the judge said.

The court also noted that the woman, being a doctor in a government hospital, was drawing house rent allowance.

"Hence, under the given circumstances, the argument of the appellant that by her acts, the mother-in-law has allegedly taken away the constitutional rights of appellant to live with dignity, honour and reputation, is devoid of merits.

"The right of a daughter-in-law does not override the constitutional and statutory rights of her parents-in-law to enjoy their self-acquired property in the manner they want. If it is anybody from whom she is entitled to relief, it is her husband, and her parents-in-law, who are senior citizens, cannot be held liable for any kind of burdens," it said.


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