In a significant judgment the Delhi High Court has observed that the right of residence under Section 19 of the DV Act is not an indefeasible right of residence in shared household, especially, when the daughter-in-law is pitted against aged father-in-law and mother-in-law.
The Court while dismissing the appeal further observed that where the residence is a shared household, it does not create any embargo upon the owner to claim eviction against his daughter-in-law. A strained frictional relationship between the parties would be relevant to decide whether the grounds of eviction exist.
The Respondent had filed a suit for possession against the appellant (daughter-in-law) on grounds that he being an absolute owner of the property; having terminated the license of appellant; the husband of appellant having shifted to some other place; various litigations being pending between the parties; the respondent had cancelled such license and was not inclined to live with his daughter-in-law.
After hearing the parties the impugned order was passed whereby a decree of possession was awarded to the respondent. It was held the property was a self-acquired property of the respondent and the appellant was residing in the property as his daughter-in-law and after termination of the license, she has no right to stay therein, thus the impugned order.
Aggrieved with the judgment, the appellant filed the instant appeal for setting aside the impugned judgment and decree passed by the Additional District Judge-04 (West), Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi.
The Court noted that the subject property, even otherwise, is admitted by the respondent to be shared household, hence per para 90 of the Satish Chander (supra) the Court was expected to maintain a balance between the rights of the parties.
The Supreme Court in para 90 of its judgment in Satish Chander Ahuja observed as under:
“……90. Before we close out discussion on Section 2(s), we need to observe that the right to residence under Section 19 is not an indefeasible right of residence in shared household especially when the daughter-in-law is pitted against aged father-in-law and mother-in-law. The senior citizens in the evening of their life are also entitled to live peacefully not haunted by marital discord between their son and daughter-in-law. While granting relief both in application under Section 12 of the 2005 Act or in any civil proceedings, the Court has to balance the rights of both the parties. The directions issued by the High Court in para 56 adequately balance the rights of both the parties.”Para 90 of the Judgment in Satish Chander Ahuja vs Sneha Ahuja AIR 2020 SC 5397
The Court after relying on the judgment in Satish Chander Ahuja also observed that:
24. Admittedly where the parties are residing is a flat, having only three bed rooms, a drawing room and the appellant is in possession of a room in the said flat, then considering there are various complaints filed by them against each other; their relations being not cordial, would it in such circumstances, be appropriate for them to stay together and fight every minute of their existence. In Satish Chander Ahuja (supra) in para No.90 the Court had observed we need to strike a balance between the rights of daughter-in-law and her in-laws.
Right of Residence provided under Section 19 of the Domestic Violence Act is not a indefeasible right.
25. Admittedly, the right of residence under Section 19 of the DV Act is not an indefeasible right of residence in shared household, especially, when the daughter-in-law is pitted against aged father-in-law and mother-in-law. In this case, both being senior citizens of aged about 74 and 69 years and being in the evening of their life, are entitled to live peacefully and not to be haunted by the marital discord between their son and daughter-in-law.”, the Court observed.
Where the Residence is a shared household, the owner can claim eviction against his daughter-in-law:
27. Thus, where the residence is a shared household, it does not create any embargo upon the owner to claim eviction against his daughter-in-law. A strained frictional relationship between the parties would be relevant to decide whether the grounds of eviction exist. I am of the considered opinion, since there exist a frictional relationship between the parties, then at the fag end of their lives it would not be advisable for old parents to stay with appellant and hence it would be appropriate if an alternative accommodation is provided to the appellant as is directed in the impugned order per Section 19(1)(f) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act which read as under:
19. Residence orders.–(1) While disposing of an application under sub- section (1) of section 12, the Magistrate may, on being satisfied that domestic violence has taken place, pass a residence order-
(f) directing the respondent to secure same level of alternate accommodation for the aggrieved person as enjoyed by her in the shared household or to pay rent for the same, if the circumstances so require: Provided that no order under clause (b) shall be passed against any person who is a woman.
In this backdrop, the Court dismissed the appeal and ordered that the execution of decree be postponed till such suitable alternative accommodation is found and the applicant is conveniently shifted therein.