Maintain healthy balance between Wife's and Old Parents Rights
Vinay Varma Vs Kanika Pasricha and Anr
CM (M) 1582/2018 & CM APPL. 53645/2018
About/from the judgment:
While a daughter-in-law's right to residence & roof over her head is crucial, the parents' right to enjoy their property & earn income from it is equally important, Delhi HC noted.
In a ruling last week, which will help subordinate courts grappling with thousands of such cases strike a balance, the court came out with guidelines on dealing with matrimonial disputes where the parents/in-laws get dragged into property claims by their children.
The court highlighted that the 2 special laws - Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act) & Maintenance & Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens Act, 2007 - deal with "overlapping nature of relationships which they seek to govern." The court pointed out the "overarching pattern" where the parents/in-laws rely on the rights under the Maintenance of Parents Act, & the daughter-in-law banks on the Domestic Violence Act, as both the parties seek protection & enforcement of rights in civil & criminal proceedings.
Laying down broad norms on whose rights have to be given preference in which case, the HC said it would help courts in reaching a view if the obligation of providing the shelter was on the in-laws or the husband of the woman.
The court said a court/tribunal has to 1st find out the nature of the relationship between the parties & their children (son or daughter). If the case involves eviction of a daughter-in-law, the court has to ascertain if she was living as part of a joint family. If the relationship is acrimonious, the parents can be permitted to seek eviction of the son/daughter-in-law or daughter/son in-law from their premises.
In such circumstances, the obligation of the husband to maintain the wife would continue in terms of the principles under the DV Act but won't flow on to his parents.
The court also cited a 2nd possibility where the relationship between the parents & the son were peaceful or they collude with the son to evict the daughter-in-law. In such a case, the HC said the obligation to maintain & provide shelter to the woman would remain with both with the in-laws & the husband, especially if they were living as a joint family.
"In such a situation, while parents will be entitled to seek eviction of the daughter-in-law from their property, an alternative reasonable accommodation will have to be provided to her," Justice Singh noted.
The court also laid down a 3rd scenario where the son or his family was ill-treating the parents. It such a case, parents would be entitled to seek unconditional eviction from their property & also put the property to use for generating income.
The HC said both these laws "would have to be borne in mind while passing the orders" to ensure conflict between the rights of the parents & the daughter-in-law were resolved.
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