By Arré Bench Oct. 16, 2020
The Supreme Court passed an important judgement that recognises a woman’s right to continue to reside in a house, even if it is not owned by her husband but by her in-laws or her husband’s relatives. “The progress of any society depends on its ability to protect and promote the rights of its women,” the SC bench said while passing its ruling.
The Supreme Court took a significant step toward reinforcing the protections offered to women under the Domestic Violence Act yesterday, 15 October. A three-judge bench, composed of Justices MR Shah and Subhash Reddy, and headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan passed an important judgement that recognises a woman’s right to continue to reside in a house, even if it is not owned by her husband but by her in-laws or her husband’s relatives.
Three-judge bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan overrules the 2006 S.R. Batra And Anr vs Smt. Taruna Batra verdict wherein it was said that a wife only has rights over the property of her husband. Court rules that the wife has rights over the shared household too. #SupremeCourt pic.twitter.com/CCDQlpoORF
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) October 15, 2020
The court was hearing a case filed by a father-in-law arguing that since his son did not own his Delhi property, his daughter-in-law had no right to reside there after initiating divorce proceedings. However, the bench held that the definition of “shared household” under the Domestic Violence Act was not limited to property owned only by the husband, but to any house the couple had lived in together, whether it was owned by the husband, his family, or was even a leased property. The bench also noted that in cases where the husband did not own the property, the legal owners of the residence could pursue a civil suit of eviction.
Rudrani Gupta: In a new judgement, the Supreme Court of India has stated that under the Domestic Violence Act 2005, women can claim residence in the shared household that belongs not only to the husband but his relatives also. https://t.co/gAJBwsEp9e
— Tufail Ahmad (@tufailelif) October 16, 2020
The bench also overruled a 2006 judgement from the Supreme Court that disallowed a woman from claiming any right to live in a house, because it was owned by her mother-in-law and not her husband. “The progress of any society depends on its ability to protect and promote the rights of its women,” the bench said while passing its ruling.
Progress of any society depends on its ability to protect rights of women: Supreme Court on woman's right to reside in shared household
— Debayan Roy (@DebayanDictum) October 15, 2020
In its judgement, the Supreme Court noted that the purpose of the Domestic Violence Act of 2005 was to ensure protection to women in troubled marriages. “A woman resigns her fate to the never ending cycle of enduring violence and discrimination as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a partner or a single woman in her lifetime. This non-retaliation by women coupled with the absence of laws addressing women’s issues, ignorance of the existing laws enacted for women and societal attitude makes the women vulnerable,” the bench said in its ruling.
The three-judge bench reinterpreted the definition of 'shared household' to mean that the wife in any #domesticviolence case has the #legal right in the shared property of the family & also in the #ancestral house of her mother-in-law.@barandbenchhttps://t.co/b2uCQyEy01
— The Logical Indian (@LogicalIndians) October 16, 2020
This progressive ruling by the Supreme Court marks another victory for women’s rights in India.