Published on: May 13, 2022 at 19:00 IST
The Supreme Court exponentially expanded the ambit of shared household under Domestic Violence Act and ruled that women belonging to any religion have the Right to Reside in a Shared Household.
The Bench of Justices Shah and Nagarathna opined that :
“A woman in a domestic relationship who is not aggrieved, in the sense that who has not been subjected to an act of Domestic Violence, has a right to reside in a shared household.”
“Thus, a mother, daughter, wife, sister, wife, mother-in-law, doughter-in-law or such other categories of women in a domestic relationship have the reside in a shared household dehors a right, title or beneficial interest in the same.” The Bench said.
The Bench observed, “In the Indian societal context, the right of a women to reside in the shared household is of unique importance. The reason for the same are not far to see. In India, most women are not educated nor are they earning; neither do they have financial independence so as to live singly.”
Justice Nagarathna observed, “She may be dependent for residence in a domestic relationship not only for emotional support but for the aforesaid reasons….”
“A majority of women in India do not have independent income or financial capacity and are totally dependent vis-à-vis their residence on their male or other female relations who may have a domestic relationship with her.”
Justices Shah and Nagarathna said the expression ‘the right to reside in a shared household’ cannot be restricted to actual reside.
“If a woman in a domestic relationship seeks to enforce her right to reside in a shared household, irrespective of whether she has resided therein at all or not, then that right can be enforced under Section 17(1) of the DV Act.”
“If her right to reside in a shared household is resisted or restrained by the Respondent(s) then she becomes an aggrieved person and she cannot be evicted, if she has already been living in the shared household or excluded from the same or any part of it if she is not actually residing therein,” the Court said.