Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Explaining the significance of ‘shared household’ Asha Menon, J., explained that where a residence is clearly a shared household, it would not bar the owner from claiming eviction against her daughter-in-law, if circumstances call for it.

An instant suit was filed for possession, damages and permanent injunction in respect of the property. The plaintiff claimed to be the exclusive and absolute owner of the suit property.

The suit was filed against the daughter-in-law of the plaintiff who is defendant 1 and her mother who is defendant 2. Son of the plaintiff and the husband of the defendant 1 expired in 2020.

Even if it was accepted that defendant 2 had come to reside with her daughter then, to be of comfort to her daughter, clearly, she had no right to continue to stay in the suit premises once the plaintiff had expressed her desire that the defendant 2 should leave.

Whether defendant 1 raised a triable issue with regard to the title of the plaintiff?

In Court’s opinion, defendant’s claim reflected a desperate attempt to question the plaintiff’s exclusive title to the suit property, which attempt has failed.

Reasoning the above-said further, High Court stated that accepting the fact that the plaintiff’s husband had bequeathed the property to the children, it was also a fact that the children relinquished their shares and rights in favour of their mother.

The Relinquishment Deed was of the year 1999 and the son of the plaintiff married three times, and the defendant 1, being the third wife, entered his life in 2014. Between 1999 till 2014, neither the deceased son of the plaintiff nor her daughter questioned the Relinquishment Deed executed in favour of their mother or the execution of the Conveyance Deed in 2000 solely in the name of the plaintiff.

Even after the marriage of the deceased son of the plaintiff to the defendant 1, the son never questioned the validity of the Relinquishment Deed, by instituting any legal proceedings.

Hence, in view of the above, challenge raised by the defendant 1 was completely untenable and the plaintiff was clearly the exclusive owner of the suit property.

In the present matter, Court noted that the defendants admitted the existence of the Relinquishment Deed and Conveyance Deed executed in favour of the plaintiff and expressed that,

Merely raising the bogey of a life interest does not detract from the admissions made, thus acknowledging the exclusive title of the plaintiff to the suit property.

Shared Household

Defendant 1 raised the plea that the suit premises constituted her shared household.

The significant point to be noted was that the plaintiff herself did not dispute the fact that the suit premises formed the shared household, hence no other evidence or proof was required to establish the said fact.

High Court opined that in light of the decision of the Supreme Court in Satish Chander Ahuja v. Sneha Ahuja, (2021) 1 SCC 414 the mere fact that premises take on the nature of shared household would not per se be a complete defence to a suit for possession filed by the owner of the property, being the in-laws of the defendant/aggrieved person, nor is such a suit barred.

The protection under the DV Act assuring the residence of the aggrieved person in the shared household does not vest any proprietary or indefeasible right on the aggrieved person. It is also subject to eviction being initiated in accordance with law.

Right of residence allowed to aggrieved person does not extend to her insisting on the right of residence in a particular premises.

Section 19 of the DV Act provides for an alternate accommodation being given to the aggrieved person of the same level in certain circumstances.

 “…even where a residence is clearly a shared household, it does not bar the owner, the plaintiff herein, from claiming eviction against her daughter-in-law, if the circumstances call for it.”

Whether the plaintiff must be put to the rigours of a trial to determine whether she made out a case for reclaiming possession of the suit premises or whether the facts as set out in the written statement and the plaint would be sufficient to come to a conclusion?

As per the written statement, the relationship between the parties was far from cordial.

Defendant 1’s case was that the plaintiff and her grandson subjected her to abuse along with this she also stated that she was entitled to half share in the property and thus was entitled to half of the rental income as per the Will of the late father-in-law. She even alleged that her stepson being the grandson of the plaintiff was wasting away the assets of her late husband and was operating various bank accounts and mutual fund accounts of her late husband on the basis of being the nominee, without accounting for her share.

Court noted that defendant 1 in order to wrest settlement from the plaintiff, had made efforts to pressurize her while staying in her premises.

Bench opined that, the defendants admitted in their written statement that the plaintiff had one bedroom in her possession whereas the defendants had two bedrooms in their possession with kitchen, drawing and dining being common portions. By inducting her mother and for a short time her sister, defendant 1 seemed to have made an attempt to assert rights in respect of the suit property, clearly causing distress to the plaintiff.

The averments made in the written statement were sufficient to establish a justification for the plaintiff to seek the eviction of the defendants.

High Court held that the plaintiff was entitled to seek possession of the suit premises from the two defendants without the rigours of an unnecessary and prolonged trial at her age.

Suppression of Facts

Plaintiff counsel submitted that the defendants had a place in Pune.

In the written statement the allegation was that the plaintiff and the grandson were trying to force the defendants “to return to Pune”. The Bench stated that interestingly the affidavit of defendant 2 stated her residential address to be the suit premises but it cannot be her permanent residence. Defendant 2 arrives from somewhere upon the death of her son-in-law.

Hence, there had been suppression of facts by the defendants. [Madalsa Sood v. Maunicka Makkar, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 5217, decided on 10-12-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Plaintiff:

Rajat Aneja & Chandrika Gupta, Advocates.

For the Defendants:

D.K. Goswami, Sr. Advocate with Saharsh Jauhar & Kuldeep Singh, Advocates for D-1 & D-2.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: In a case wherein a father-in-law was accused of raping his own daughter-in-law, Subramonium Prasad, J., expressed that,

Rape is not merely a physical assault; it is often destructive of the whole personality of the survivor.

Factual Background

Prosecutrix submitted that she got married according to Muslim Rites and Customs. After some time of her marriage, her in-laws started to harass her but she remained silent. Further, it was stated that her husband used to beat her and subjected her to unnatural sex several times.

Later, the prosecutrix came to know that her husband was having an affair with some other woman and therefore, she tried to make him understand, but he did not listen to her.

Petitioner raped prosecutrix on 2-3 occasions. On one day the prosecutrix told her brother-in-law about the incidents of rape by the petitioner. Though it is stated that after that day, brother-in-law tried to touch the prosecutrix inappropriately after which the prosecutrix told her parents everything and asked them to take her along.

An FIR was lodged for the offences under Sections 323, 376 of the Penal Code, 1860.

In view of the above, petitioner was arrested.

Yogesh Gaur, Counsel for the complainant opposed the bail by contending that the prosecutrix was harassed by her husband, her father-in-law and brother-in-law. Petitioner raped the prosecutrix, hence the bail ought not to be granted to him.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court noted on a number of Supreme Court cases with respect to parameters of granting bail, which were as follows:

Bench expressed that rape is an extremely heinous offence that stipulated minimum punishment of 7 years and can go up to life.

Petitioner was accused of a very heinous offence of raping his own daughter-in-law.

The act of rape has the ability to scar the mental psyche of the survivor and this trauma can persist for years.

In view of the above, bail was rejected.[Ahshan Ali v. State, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 4776, decided on 21-10-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For the petitioner:

Gaurav Kochar, Advocate

For the respondent:

Kusum Dhalla, APP for the State with SI Shubham Singh, PS Jyoti Nagar.

Yogesh Gaur, Advocate for the complainant.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Expressing that when the children, who the parents have reared with untold sorrows and miseries, throw them at the mercy of their destiny and use their muscle power to torture and harass them, the parents’ world get totally shattered which marks as the beginning for the unfortunate tale of their moving from one Forum to another for redressal, Harnaresh Singh Gill, J., while quoting from the holy script of  Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Sri Guru Ram Dass has written ‘KAAHAY POOT JHAGRAT HA-O SANG BAAP/ JIN KAY JANAY BADEERAY TUM HA-O TIN SIO JHAGRAT PAPP//” (O son, why do you argue with your father? It is a sin to argue with the one who fathered you and raised you) stated that “we have to treat our parents as God.


Life is full with extraordinary challenges and unrivalled opportunities, but such chances must not be used against those who parented you.

Classic Example

Instant matter was a classic example, wherein the petitioners sought equities entirely forgetting that it is because of their conduct that their old and aged parents had to seek their eviction so as to buy back their peace and freedom.

Grievance

Issuance of writ of mandamus was sought for directing respondents 1 to 3 to protect the life and liberty of the petitioners at the hands of respondents 4 and 5 and mandate them not to interfere in the property of the petitioners.

Application filed by respondent 4 under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 wherein the petitioners have been ordered to be ejected from the house is also sought to be dismissed.

Factual Background

Respondent 4 had filed an application under the provisions of the 2007 Act against the petitioners i.e. his son and daughter-in-law. Petitioners were not treating respondent 4 and 5 properly and depriving them even of the basic necessities and just wanted to grab respondents’ property and owing to their behaviour, respondents 4 and 5 had disowned petitioner 1 from their movable and immovable property.

Respondents had even requested the petitioners to vacate the house in question, but they did not. Sub Divisional Magistrate in his report recommended the ejectment of the petitioners and sent the same to the District Magistrate who ordered the ejectment of the petitioners from the house.

Petitioners’ Contention

Counsel for the petitioner contended that the house in question was a joint Hindu Family Property and petitioner 1 had also contributed to the construction of ground floor of the house, he also started a business in which respondent 4 was shown the proprietor.

Another submission was that the respondents had ill-treated petitioner 2 and accordingly FIR under Sections 498-A, 406, 323, 506 and 34 of Penal Code, 1860 were registered against the respondents.

Adding to its submissions, the petitioners counsel also contended that the District Magistrate had no power under Section 23 of the 2007 Act to direct a son to vacate the house of his parents because none of the circumstances contemplated in the statutory provisions, is attracted in a father-son-relationship.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Respondent 4’s case was that the house in question was his self-acquired property, and rather it was not a Joint Hindu Family Property.

SDM in its report had stated that as per the sale deed, respondent 4 was the owner of the house in question.

High Court stated that even if for the sake of arguments, Court assumes that respondent 4 had gifted the house to the petitioners, even then the transfer of property was to be held void in certain circumstances.

Section 23 of the 2007 Act dealt with the validity of the transfer of property in certain circumstances.

“…if a senior citizen who, after the commencement of the 2007 Act, has transferred by way of gift or otherwise, his property, with the condition that the transferee would provide basic amenities and basic physical needs to the transferor, who thereafter refuses or fails to provide such amenities and physical needs, then the transfer of the property made by the senior citizen shall be deemed to have been made by fraud or coercion or under undue influence and shall at the option of the transferor, be declared void by the Tribunal.”

Rule 24 of the Rules provides in the action plan as to how the property of senior citizen, which includes a residential building, can be vacated from his son, daughter or legal heir(s) while in an unauthorized occupation and how the said order is to be enforced.

Court added that though the present matter is not the one wherein any transfer or gift has been executed by respondent 4 and 5. Hence, the petitioners cannot maintain the claim on the alleged ground that petitioner 1 had contributed towards the renovation of the house.

Adding more to the analysis, Bench expressed that even in the cases, where a gift deed was executed by the parents in favour of the children, it was held that irrespective of any condition regarding providing to the transferor the basic amenities, the transferee would be bound to maintain the transferor.

High Court referred to this Court’s decision in Raksha Devi v. Deputy Commr., decided on 3-5-2018.

In view of the above, Court dismissed the petition on not finding any merit. [Anil Kumar Dhiman v. State of Haryana, CRWP 1357 of 2019, decided on 21-9-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

Mr Akhil Bhasin, Advocate, for the petitioners.

Mr Pardeep Prakash Chahar, DAG, Haryana.

Mr Anuj Balian, Advocate, for respondents 4 and 5.


Additional Reading:


“Daughters are daughters forever and sons are sons till they are married”: Bom HC orders son to vacate flat of 90 yrs old parents

Under Parents and Senior Citizens Act, is it necessary to find out whether property belongs to parent exclusively or is a shared household in which daughter-in-law has rights? Bom HC deciphers

Children living in parents’ house are at best licensees: Cal HC says senior citizens’ exclusive residentiary rights to be viewed from prism of Art. 21

P&H HC | Maintaining elderly parents is not only a value based principle but a bounden duty under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents Act

Madras HC | Sons turning turtle after giving undertaking to vacate their father’s premises is Contempt of Court: Read synopsis of Court’s opinion

Del HC | Which is the proper forum for filing appeals from the eviction order passed by DM under Delhi Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act? Court answers

All HC | Is the District Magistrate under obligation to provide protection to senior citizens being harassed by their children? HC explains

Bom HC | “If children cannot take care of their parents and allow them to live in peace, they atleast ought not to make their life a living hell”; Court sternly warns daughter to not harass mother physically & mentally

Chh HC | Step-son held duty bound to maintain his step-mother under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act

Maintenance – Children and Parents

Parents can evict children under the provisions of MWPSC Act, 2007 upon being harassed: Bombay HC

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Prathiba M. Singh, J. while addressing the matter, expressed that

“…in the opinion of this Court, all cases of family disputes cannot be characterised as cases under the DV Act.”

Plaintiff had filed a suit against his son and daughter-in-law, respectively.

In view of various disputes between the plaintiff and his son/daughter-in-law, he sought the permanent and mandatory injunction, damages seeking vacant and peaceful possession of the suit property and removal of his son and daughter-in-law. Damages and mesne profits were also sought by the plaintiff.

 Issues:

  • Condonation of delay of 342 days, in filing the present second appeal.
  • Merits of matter.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court stated that there was no delay in filing the present appeal.

Several disputes arose amongst the said family members, which, according to Plaintiff, were due to the interference of the family members of the daughter-in-law, including the mother and the brothers of the daughter-in-law.

There was no document on record to show the existence of a HUF, of which, Plaintiff was alleged to be the Karta.

Plea of ‘shared household’ appeared to have clearly been put up on behalf of the daughter-in-law, as a faint plea, and as an argument of last resort.

There were no complaints that had been preferred against the father-in-law and there were no cases filed or pending under the DV Act, or any other legislation at the instance of the daughter-in-law.

Further, the Bench stated that the father was merely seeking to evict both his son and daughter-in-law, on the strength of his ownership of the suit property.

Adding to the above, Court stated that the settled position of law is that proceedings under the DV Act are not required and the same can also be raised as defence in the suit, the basic requirements of the said Act ought to be satisfied.

The present is not a case where the case set up is one under the DV Act, involving domestic violence. 

High Court highlighted the peculiar facts:

  • The ownership of the Plaintiff in the suit property is not in dispute.
  • The sale of the property of the mother, which took place in 2011, was never challenged by the Defendants.
  • The purchase of this suit property in the name of the Plaintiff was never challenged by the Defendants.
  • There is no complaint of Domestic Violence raised by the daughter-in-law before any forum. In fact, to the contrary, the Plaintiff has filed complaints against his son and daughter-in-law with police repeatedly, alleging ill-treatment and abuse.
  • The Defendants i.e., the son and daughter-in-law are living together peacefully. The written statement before the trial court was filed jointly. The first appeal was also filed jointly, and so is the present second appeal. There is no estrangement or marital discord between them.
  • The order passed in the application under Order XII Rule 6 CPC has also been executed and the Defendants have already moved out of the suit property and are living in alternate premises.

In light of the above stated facts and noting that they are distinguishable from the facts of Satish Chandra Ahuja v. Sneha Ahuja, [2020 (11) SCALE 476] and Vanitha v. Deputy Commr., [2020 (14) SCALE 210]

Court dismissed the appeal. [Aarti Sharma v. Ganga Saran, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 4110, decided on 24-08-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Appellants: Zahid Ali, Advocate

For the Respondent: Ashok Kumar Tiwari, Advocate

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: Rajasekhar Mantha, J., held that,

To compel a senior citizen to approach either a civil court (the jurisdiction of which is any way barred under Section 27 of the 2007 Act) or take recourse to a special Statute like the 2007 Act would in most cases be extremely erroneous and painful for a person in the sunset days of life.

It is well settled that children and their spouses living in the senior citizen’s house are at best “licensees”. It is also stated that the said license comes to an end once the senior citizens are not comfortable with their children and their families.

The above-said principle was followed by the Delhi High Court in Sandeep Gulati v. Divisional Commissioner, WP (C) 2761 of 2020 and Punjab and Haryana High Court in Manmohan Singh v. UT Chandigarh, Case No. 1365 of 2015; Samsher Singh v. District Magistrate, U.T. Chandigarh (Case No. 2017 CWP 6365) and Gurpreet Singh v. State of Punjab, Case No. 2016 (1) RCR (Civil) 324.

Issues for consideration:

  • Availability of alternative remedy under the provisions of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents Senior Citizens Act, 2007.
  • Right of a daughter-in-law of residence to be provided by either the husband or the father-in-law, if directed by a competent court under the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Supreme Court in S. Vanitha v. Deputy Commissioner, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1023, expressed that since both, the Senior Citizens Act, 2007 as also the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 are special legislations, the two must be construed harmoniously and applied suitably by a writ court hearing a plea of the senior citizens that they do not want their children to live with them. In the said decision, Supreme Court elaborately dealt with the principle under the headline “E. Harmonising competing reliefs under the PWDV Act 2005 and Senior Citizens Act 2007”.

In the present matter, since no right of residence was sought by the daughter-in-law, the Court opined that there was no impediment in allowing exclusive residentiary rights to the senior citizens to direct eviction of son and daughter-in-law.

Therefore, while concluding, the High Court stated that the right of a senior citizen to exclusively reside in his own house, must be viewed from the prism of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Further, the Court added that the principle of alternative remedy cannot be strictly applied to Senior Citizens and a Writ Court must come to the aid of a Senior Citizen in a given case.

A nation that cannot take care of its aged, old and infirm citizens cannot be regarded as having achieved complete civilization.

In view of the above discussion, petition was disposed of.[Ramapada Basak v. State of West Bengal, 2021 SCC OnLine Cal 2161, decided on 23-07-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

Mr. Sobhan Majumder
… … for the petitioners

Mr. Raja Saha Mr. Simanta Kabir

… for the State

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Vivek Kumar Birla, J., while addressing a matter with regard to “shared household”, held that,

“daughter-in-law can be evicted without seeking decree of eviction against son with whom she had moved on the suit property after the marriage of the son of the plaintiff with the appellant.”

Appellant was married to the plaintiff’s son — Vijay Gandhi. In the year 2013, Vijay Gandhi deserted the appellant and filed a divorce petition under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

Further, it has been noted that an FIR was lodged against the appellant by the plaintiff.

Plaintiff is the owner of the property wherein he permitted his son and the defendant to live on the first floor of his house. Defendant started harassing the plaintiff who is old and handicapped along with his wife.

Suit for Eviction

In view of the above incident, the plaintiff asked his son to vacate the house with the defendant, who later came back and refused to vacate the house. Hence suit for eviction was filed against the defendant.

Substantial question in the present appeal

(I) Whether as per definition of shared household provided under Section 2(s) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 appellant daughter-in-law can be evicted without seeking a decree of eviction against son with whom she had admittedly moved on the first floor of the suit property after the marriage of the son of the plaintiff with appellant?

Supreme Court in its decision, S.R. Batra v. Tarun Batra, (2007) 3 SCC 169, while considering the aspect of “shared household” held that where the plaintiff is the exclusive owner, it cannot be called a “shared household”. The wife’s claim for alternative accommodation against the plaintiff was rejected and was held that it can be claimed only against the husband and not against the in-laws or other relatives.

S.R. Batra v. Tarun Batra, (2007) 3 SCC 169: a shared household would only mean the house belonging to or taken on rent by the husband, or the house which belongs to the joint family of which the husband is a member.

Hence, in the Court’s opinion, no substantial question of law arose or can be raised in the present second appeal.

Order 1 Rule 3 and Rule 9 CPC

Further, the Court added that, it is not in dispute that the husband was not residing in the suit property and left the house. It is also not being questioned that if parents permit his son to live in their house he would be a licensee. If his wife is also living with him, she would also be a licensee.

Where the son has left and is not residing in the suit property, no relief is being or is claimed against him. Since he is not living in the suit property, question of filing a separate suit or which may attract any common question of law or fact would also not arise.

Lastly, answering the substantial question of law in the negative, bench once again cited the Supreme Court decision in S.R. Batra with regard to the shared household and the argument for counsel for the respondent (wife) that definition of the shared household includes a house where the person aggrieved lives or at any stage had lived in a domestic relationship was specifically considered and rejected.

Court added that a reading of the said judgment, subject to correction, prima facie, reflects that husband was not a party to the suit and it was held that the claim for alternative accommodation can only be made against the husband and not against the in-laws or other relatives.

Therefore, in view of the definition of the shared house, as provided under Section 2 (s) of the Act, 2005 daughter-in-law can be evicted without seeking a decree of eviction against the son with whom she had admittedly moved in the suit property after the marriage of the son of the plaintiff.

In view of the above observations, petition was dismissed. [Sujata Gandhi v. S.B. Gandhi, 2020 SCC OnLine All 763, decided on 12-06-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: The Bench of Sanjeev Sachdeva, J. ordered mother-in-law of the petitioner to provide her an alternate accommodation and compensation under provisions of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Petitioner and her husband lived together in the property which is subject matter in this case. In 2012, the husband left the matrimonial house and the respondent (mother-in-law) directed the petitioner to leave the house. She is alleged to have filed a suit for permanent injunction after which the litigation story began. After several litigations, the Metropolitan Magistrate passed a residence order in favour of the petitioner. It was alleged that the order was not complied with and moreover the mother-in-law sold the subject property to a third party while the matter was still pending adjudication before the court.

Rajeev Ranjan Pandey, Advocate submitted on behalf of the petitioner that the respondent was liable to be prosecuted for breach of court orders.

The High Court referred to Sections 12, 19, 20 and 31 of the DV Act. It was noted that the subject property was sold for Rs 3,40,00,000. It was also noted that there was no order restraining the mother-in-law from selling the property and as such she could not be penalised under Section 31 which prescribe punishment for breach of court orders. In such a situation, the Court balanced the corresponding rights of the parties by directing the mother-in-law to provide an alternate accommodation in a property similar in nature in the same locality. Interim compensation of Rs 75,000 was also directed to be paid while pendency of proceedings Section 20 before the trial court. Furthermore, 1/6th of the sale consideration received was directed to be deposited with the trial court. The petition was disposed of in such terms. [Shachi Mahajan v. Santosh Mahajan, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 6418, dated 10-01-2019]