Petitioner- S.R. Batra and Anr.

Respondent- Smt. Taruna Batra

Decided On: 15.12.2006

Statutes Referred:

  1. Matrimonial Homes Act, 1967
  2. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
  3. Constitution of India

Cases Referred:

  1. B.R. Mehta v. Atma Devi and Ors., [1987] 4 SCC 183


  1. Smt. Taruna Batra (respondent) and Amit Batra (son of the appellants) had gotten married on 14.4.2000.
  2. Subsequent to the marriage, the respondent, Taruna Batra, went on to reside with her husband, Amit Batra. The pair resided in the house of appellant no.2, mother of Amit Batra and mother in law of Smt. Taruna Batra, in the second floor.
  3. Appellant no. 2 is the owner of the said house which is at B-135, Ashok Vihar, Phase-I, Delhi, and not her son Amit Batra.
  4. A divorce petition was filed by Amit Batra against his wife Taruna Batra.
  5. Allegedly, an F.I.R. was filed by Smt. Taruna Batra, as a counterblast to the aforesaid divorce petition under Sections 406/498A/506 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, as a result of which, her father-in-law, mother-in-law, her husband, and married sister-in-law were arrested by the police. However, they were granted bail only after three days.
  6. It is an admitted fact that, as a result of the dispute with her husband, Smt. Taruna Batra had moved to her parent’s residence.
  7. It was alleged by the respondent she found the main entrance of the house of appellant no. 2 locked when she tried to enter the same. Consequent to such occurrence, Suit No. 87/2003 for a mandatory injunction was filed by the respondent for the purpose of enabling her to enter the house.
  8. The case of the appellants was that before any order could be passed by the trial Judge on the suit filed by their daughter-in- law, Smt. Taruna Batra, along with her parents forcibly broke open the locks of the house at Ashok Vihar belonging to appellant No. 2, the mother- in-law of Smt. Taruna Batra. The appellants alleged that they have been terrorized by their daughter-in-law and for some time they had to stay in their office.
  9. The appellants stated that before the initiation of the above litigation between the parties, their son Amit Batra, husband of the respondent, had shifted to his own flat located in Mohan Nagar, Ghaziabad.
  10. Both the applications for temporary injunction filed in suit no. 87/2003 by the parties was decided by the learned Trial Judge by his order dated 04.03.2003. It was held that the petitioner was in possession of the second floor of the property and a temporary injunction restraining the appellants from interfering with the possession of the respondent, Smt. Taruna Batra, was granted.
  11. An appeal was filed against the aforementioned order before the Senior Civil Judge, Delhi who by his order dated 17.09.2004, held that Smt. Taruna Batra was not residing on the second floor of the premises in question. It was further held that her husband Amit Batra was not living in the suit property and the matrimonial home could not be said to be a place where only the wife was residing. Further held by the order, was the fact that no right to the properties other than that of her husband was possessed by Smt. Taruna Batra, subsequent to which the appeal was allowed and the temporary injunction application was dismissed.
  12. Aggrieved by the aforesaid order, a petition, under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, was filed by Smt. Taruna Batra. As a result of such petition, the aforementioned order was dismissed by the Delhi High Court. Hence, the filing of the present appeals.


  1. Whether the property in question is a shared household.
  2. Whether the order of the Delhi High Court, dismissing the previous order of Senior Civil Judge was justified.

Ratio Decidendi:

  1. The rights which may be available under any law can only be as against the husband and not against the father-in-law or mother-in-law.
  2. By definition of shared household, it cannot be held that any property where a husband and wife have resided together is a shared household, as there may be dozens of properties that aren’t theirs where the pair may reside at some point in their lives. Such an interpretation would lead to chaos and any interpretation that causes such absurdity cannot be accepted.
  3. Smt. Taruna Batra, not being in possession of the property in question in the first place, cannot file an injunction restraining the appellants from “dispossessing” her from said property.
  4. As regards Section 17(1) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the property in question, not being a property exclusively or jointly owned or rented by Amit Batra, cannot be subject to any claims under the right to residence in a shared household.


  1. The property cannot be called a “shared household”.
  2. The appeal is allowed.
  3. The impugned judgment of the Delhi High Court is set aside.
  4. The order of the Senior Civil Judge is to be upheld.
  5. No orders as to costs.


Perusing the facts of the case and interpreting the relevant Acts in a way that is sensible and which does not lead to chaos in society, a proper meaning of the term “shared household” was given and the judgement of the Senior Civil Judge was upheld by the Supreme Court, dismissing the judgement of the Delhi High Court.


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