Chhattisgarh High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: A Division Bench of Goutam Bhaduri and Deepak Kumar Tiwari JJ. entitled father-in-law to pay maintenance to widowed daughter-in-law from the estate of the deceased husband which is held under the hands of father-in-law. The maintenance was increased from Rs 2500 to Rs 4000.

The respondent- daughter in law (‘DIL’) was married to the son of the appellant-father-in-law (‘FIL’). After the death of the husband , she was almost deserted in the family and the bank passbook and ATM card, which belong to her husband were kept by the in-laws. It was further pleaded that at village Haretikala, Tahsil Jaijaipur ancestral property of 11.78 acres and at village Jaijaipur 3.97 acres of agricultural land are held by the appellant. In addition, three shops and houses situated in different places of Korba wherein the right of late husband of the respondent is also vested.

According to the respondent, she has no source of income to maintain herself, as such, an amount of Rs.7,000/- per month was claimed towards maintenance which was opposed by FIL contending that in order to treat the ailment of his son , a considerable amount was spent, as such, the appellant does not have any source of income and, therefore, he is unable to pay the maintenance. Thus, the Family Court, after evaluating the evidence by the order impugned, directed the appellant to pay an amount of Rs.2,500/- per month towards maintenance of the respondent. Assailing this, a present appeal was filed.

The Court noted that in order to ensure the maintenance to the daughter-in-law, Section 19 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 is to be perused.

Placing reliance on Dayali Sukhlal Sahu v. Anju Bai Santosh Sahu, 2010 (3) CGLJ 459 and Parwati v. Danpatra Singh, 2021 (1) CGLJ 328 wherein it was held that the daughter-in-law is required to specifically plead and prove by leading cogent, reliable and clinching evidence that all other sources of income as stated in sub-section (1) of Section 19 Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 are not available to her, then only the subsequent provisions of subsection (2) of Section 19 Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 can be pressed into.

The Court observed that as per the provisions enumerated under Section 19 of the Act, 1956, the right to claim maintenance by widowed daughter-in-law is conditional. The father-in-law having in possession of coparcenary property out of which widowed daughter-in-law has not obtained any share, therefore, the right to receive maintenance from the father-in-law would be limited to the share of coparcenary property held by the father-in-law in his hand in which the widowed daughter-in-law has not taken any share.

The preferential right when is considered under Section 19 (1) (a) would show that the widowed daughter-in-law would be entitled to claim maintenance firstly from the estate of her husband and thereafter, claim can be made from her father or mother. Though the word in Section ‘or‘ is used, which gives the right to a widow to claim from either of the people enumerated in Section, yet the Section is sub divided into part (a) & (b). So, the preferential precedents exist giving an option to widow. Thus, it is crystal clear that the estate of husband comes first to claim maintenance by widow. It is the well settled proposition of law that the manager of a joint Mitakshara family is under a legal obligation to maintain all male members of the family, their wives and their children, and on the death of one of the male members he is bound to maintain his widow and his children.

The Court in view of the facts and circumstances pointed out that when the estate of the husband is held in the hands of the father-in-law; the daughter-in-law cannot be forced to leave the estate of her husband and to follow the estate of her father or mother. Thus, the estate of husband can be preferred to claim over the father or mother of the daughter-in-law.

The Court enhanced the maintenance amount from Rs.2,500/- to Rs.4,000/- per month taking into the consolidated share in the property and estimated proposed income.

[Nand Kishore Lal v. Shrimati Chanchala Lal, 2022 SCC OnLine Chh 1280, decided on 04-07-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Sanjay Patel, Advocate, for the Appellant;

Mr. Sourabh Sahu, Advocate, for the Respondent.


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Chhattisgarh High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: A Division Bench of Arvind Singh Chandel and Sanjay K. Agrawal, JJ. dismissed the acquittal appeal being devoid of merits.

The facts of the case are such that marriage between the deceased and the son of the Respondent/accused was solemnised in the month of April, 2018. In November the same year, Mahima Kaushik committed suicide by hanging herself. FIR was registered and charges were framed and the Trial Court acquitted the accused. Assailing this acquittal order, instant appeal was filed.

Counsel for the Appellant/State submits that the Sessions Judge has committed manifest illegality in acquitting the Respondent/accused of the charge under Section 304B IPC as all the ingredients constituting the offence have been duly established by the prosecution and, therefore, the judgment of acquittal deserves to be set aside.

The Court relied on judgment Anjanappa v. State of Karnataka, (2014) 2 SCC 776, it has been held by the Supreme Court as follows:

“9. It is well settled that an order of acquittal is not to be set aside lightly. If the view taken by the trial Court is a reasonably possible view, it is not to be disturbed. If two views are possible and if the view taken by the trial Court is a reasonably possible view, then the appellate Court should not disturb it just because it feels that another view of the matter is possible. However, an order of acquittal will have to be disturbed if it is perverse. We have examined the trial Court’s order of acquittal in light of above principles. We are of the considered opinion that the High Court was justified in setting it aside as it is perverse.

The Court after perusing evidence and facts observed that the finding of the Trial Court that the prosecution has failed to prove that soon before the death of the deceased she was subjected to cruelty on account of demand of dowry is totally based on the evidence available on record. Furthermore, from perusal of the evidence, it also appears that the fact regarding demand of dowry itself is suspicious.

The Court thus held “there is no manifest legal error in the judgment of acquittal recorded by the Learned Additional Sessions Judge and we do not consider it a fit case where this Court should re-appreciate the entire evidence on record or it is not a case where the view taken by the Additional Sessions Judge is so arbitrary or bears manifest error requiring interference.”

[State of Chhattisgarh v. Chameli Kaushik, 2022 SCC OnLine Chh 691, decided on 11-04-2022]


Appearances

For Appellant/State: Shri Kapil Maini


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Kerala High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: In a matter, wherein a senior citizen has approached the Court with her grievance with respect to her son, Murali Purushothaman, J., expressed that,

“When the Senior Citizen or parent who has earnings makes an application to the Maintenance Tribunal contending that her right to earning is obstructed by the son who has statutory obligation to maintain the parent, the Maintenance Tribunal has to ensure that the Senior Citizen or parent is able to maintain herself from her earnings.”

“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the biggest honours.”

Question for Consideration


If the parent is able to maintain herself from her own earnings, but the son has obstructed the parent to have access to her earning, can the Maintenance Tribunal constituted under the Senior Citizens Act direct the son not to obstruct the parent from taking the earnings and to create a peaceful living atmosphere for her in the residence?

Petitioner, a senior citizen was the wife of K.V. Eapen who had executed Will, whereby life interest was created in favour of the petitioner in respect of A schedule properties in the Will and after her death, the property was to devolve absolutely in favour of their son, the 4th respondent.

As per the Will, the petitioner can enjoy A schedule properties with absolute freedom including the right to collect and take all income and to reside in the house ad libitum.

Later, the Petitioner preferred an application before the Maintenance Tribunal under the Senior Citizens Act against the 4th respondent son and the 5th respondent daughter in law, alleging that they were not maintaining her and were not permitting her and her mother-in-law to stay in the house peacefully and to enjoy or collect usufructs from the property covered by the Will.

Reliefs sought before the Maintenance Tribunal:

(i) to ensure a peaceful living for her and her mother-in-law in the house,

(ii) the right to take usufructs from the property,

(iii) the right to sell the agricultural products yielded during the lifetime of her husband,

(iv) protection for life from son and daughter in law.

Maintenance Tribunal directed respondents 4 and 5:

i) not to obstruct the petitioner from taking usufructs from the property

(ii) to create a peaceful living atmosphere for the petitioner in the house, and

(iii) not to cause any harm to the petitioner.

Petitioner contended that the Maintenance Tribunal did not take any steps to enforce the above-said order, hence the present petition was filed.

Analysis, Law and Decision


A senior citizen including a parent who is unable to maintain himself from his own earning or out of the property owned by him alone is entitled to maintain an application under Section 5.

 High Court expressed that, when a Senior Citizen or parent who has earning makes an application to the Maintenance Tribunal contending that her right to earning is obstructed by the son who has statutory obligation to maintain the parent, the Maintenance Tribunal has to ensure that the senior citizen or parent is able to maintain herself from her earnings.

Power of the Maintenance Tribunal under the Senior Citizens Act is not circumscribed to mere ordering of monthly allowance for maintenance of senior citizen where the relative or children neglect or refuses to maintain the senior citizen or parent, but to ensure maintenance from own earnings to lead a dignified life.

In the present case as well, the directions of the Maintenance tribunal are to remove the incapacity of the petitioner to maintain herself, so that she is not left destitute, but leads a normal dignified life.

The three directions passed by the Maintenance Tribunal, were in furtherance of the purpose of the Act, to ensure that the petitioner maintains herself out of her own earnings to live a normal life with peace, security and dignity.

The Bench added that respondents 4 and 5 cannot just walk away from the moral and statutory obligation to maintain the petitioner. They cannot be permitted to take advantage of their own wrong.

The power of the Maintenance Tribunal under the Senior Citizens Act is not circumscribed to ordering of monthly allowance to be paid in monetary terms for maintenance of senior citizen, but also to ensure maintenance from his own earnings if any, to lead a dignified life.

The Court directed the District Magistrate to take necessary steps to enforce the Maintenance Tribunal’s order within a period of three months. Further, the Bench added that the District Magistrate shall before taking steps to enforce the order make an attempt to see whether the matter can be amicably settled between the petitioner and her son and daughter in law so that they all live in comfort.

In view of the above, the petition was allowed. [Leelamma Eapen v. District Magistrate, 2022 SCC OnLine Ker 1560, decided on 28-3-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner:

BY ADV SRI.K.M.VARGHESE

For the Respondents:

BY ADV MS.BEA MARY BENNY-R4,5

          GP SRI.C.N.PRABHAKARAN

Case BriefsDistrict Court

Dwarka Courts, New Delhi: Richa Gusain Solanki, Additional Senior Civil Judge-Cum-JSCC-Cum-Guardian Judge, addressed a matter with regard to the eviction of the daughter-in-law by in-laws.

The present suit was filed for permanent and mandatory injunction.

Plaintiff was the owner of the suit property having purchased it from the previous owner. The defendant was the daughter-in-law of the plaintiff. Plaintiff’s son was residing separately from the defendant.

Further, it was stated that the defendant’s behaviour was rude and harsh towards the plaintiff and her family from the very beginning. Since the defendant did not mend her ways, the plaintiff separated the defendant from her son.

Out of natural love and affection for the son and the daughter-in-law, the plaintiff permitted the defendant to reside at the suit property. On knowing that the defendant wanted to sell the property, she asked the defendant to vacate the property, but the defendant refused to do so and demanded Rs 15 lakhs for the same.

Plaintiff had no source of income, and the husband of the plaintiff received a meagre pension which was insufficient to run the household. If the suit property was vacated by the defendant, the same could be let out for an additional source of income. Therefore, the present suit had been filed.

Analysis, Law and Decision

“A party who seeks grant of an injunction must satisfy the Court that his/her dealing of the matter has been fair, honest and free of any fraud or illegality.”

Court noted that the manner in which suits were filed and withdrawn had shown that the plaintiff availed the benefits of the settlement and then took a U-turn to the disadvantage of the defendant.

Plaintiff’s conduct appeared to be such as to disentitle her to the assistance of the Court and no injunction could be granted under Section 41(i) of the Specific Relief Act.

Preponderance of probabilities 

Defendant did not file any application seeking an interim injunction against the sale of the suit property in this case. No injunction was ever granted and in a span of almost 5.5 years, the defendant has not sold or attempted to sell the suit property. Rather she has undertaken in her written statement that she never intends to do so.

“…rights of the plaintiff as an owner of the suit property have to be balanced with the rights of the defendant who is residing in the suit property in the capacity of a daughter-in-law of the plaintiff.”

Since the suit property was the shared household of the defendant, the status of the defendant was more than that of a gratuitous licensee.

Can the defendant have a legal right of residence in the suit property by virtue of Sections 17 read with 19 of the PWDV Act?

The repeated filing of civil suits to evict the defendant and her minor child from the suit property, despite there being a settlement between the parties and especially after the plaintiff had got the FIR quashed on the basis of the settlement, only goes to show that the plaintiff has caused immense mental harassment to the defendant.

“…suits for eviction must have hung over the head of the defendant like a Damocles’ Sword; the fear of not knowing what will happen to the defendant and her minor child, who had already been deserted by the son of the plaintiff must have caused great anxiety to her.”

The above-stated constituted emotional and economic abuse within the meaning of “domestic violence’ under Section 3of the PWDV Act.

Bench expressed that,

Usually, in cases where the in-laws and the daughter-in-law are residing in the same premises, the in-laws would be entitled to seek eviction of the daughter-in-law from their property after providing an alternative reasonable accommodation to her.

Plaintiff was obligated to provide for adequate residence to the defendant and there was no reason why the defendant should be evicted from the suit property.

Hence, the plaintiff was not entitled to a decree of mandatory injunction in her favour.[Bala Devi v. Anjana, CS SCJ: 112 of 2017, decided on 16-3-2022]

Saket Court
Case BriefsDistrict Court

Saket Courts, New Delhi: Sonu Agnihotri, Additional Sessions Judge – 03, addressed a matter, wherein a wife using improper means procured the information of bank accounts of father-in-law and mother-in-law but it was noted that her intention was not dishonest.

A criminal revision under Section 397/399 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was preferred by the accused against the impugned order passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate whereby the order of framing of charge under Section 72A of the IT Act and Section 409 of Penal Code, 1860 was passed against the accused.

Complainants were the father-in-law and mother-in-law of the petitioner and due to issues between their son and daughter-in-law, the son left the company of his wife and started living at his matrimonial home.

Petitioner had filed a complaint under Section 12 of the PWDV Act against the son of the complainant wherein she sought maintenance from her husband.

It was stated that 12 Court proceedings have been pending between the petitioner and son of the complainants with regard to matrimonial disputes.

Vide the impugned order, the charge had been ordered to be framed against the petitioner under Section 72A of the IT Act and Section 409 of Penal Code, 1860

Analysis, Law and Decision

Section 72 A of the Information Technology Act provides as:

Punishment for disclosure of information in breach of lawful contract. -Save as otherwise provided in this Act or any other law for the time being in force, any person including an intermediary who, while providing services under the terms of lawful contract, has secured access to any material containing personal information about another person, with the intent to cause or knowing that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or wrongful gain discloses, without the consent of the person concerned, or in breach of a lawful contract, such material to any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees, or with both.

Section 409 IPC:

Criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent.—Whoever, being in any manner entrusted with property, or with any dominion over property in his capacity of a public servant or in the way of his business as a banker, merchant, factor, broker, attorney or agent, commits criminal breach of trust in respect of that property, shall be punished with 1[imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. 

Further, Section 405 IPC defines Criminal Breach of Trust.

Whether Section 72 of the IT Act will be attracted in the present case?

Petitioner was the daughter-in-law of the complainants who was working with ICICI Bank and as per the case of prosecution, petitioner while misusing her position accessed bank accounts and FDR details of complainants with ICICI Bank and used the said details in an application filed before MM in a complaint filed by her under provisions of Domestic Violence Act.

Complainants further alleged that the petitioner in connivance with ICICI Bank jeopardized the safety and security of property and person of the complainants who were senior citizens.

Though the allegations were against both the petitioner and ICICI Bank, surprisingly, the charge-sheet was silent about any investigation made qua role of higher officials of ICICI Bank.

In Court’s opinion, without proceeding against ICICI Bank was obligated to maintain secrecy regarding the financial information of the complainants, the petitioner could not have solely proceeded.

It was noted that the petitioner used her ID to access the financial information of the complainants.

High Court expressed that,

Manner of bringing the information before Court of law may not be morally right but it cannot be said by this act of petitioner that, petitioner caused or intended to cause any wrongful loss to petitioners or to cause wrongful gain to herself as merely by disclosing this information, no pecuniary benefit is stated to have been received by petitioner and if any maintenance or any other amount is granted by Court of law, that cannot be termed to be wrongful gain to petitioner.

 In view of the above observation, the petitioner’s act did not fall within the definition of wrongful gain or wrongful loss as defined under Section 23 of the Penal Code, 1860.

The second limb of ingredients of an offence under Section 72 A of the IT Act was that the petitioner was in breach of lawful contract divulged financial information of complainants to any other person.

Bench stated that, breach of lawful contract if any was made by ICICI Bank and not by the petitioner directly. So, the act of the petitioner does not satisfy the ingredients of the offence under Section 72A of the IT Act.

With respect to framing of charge under Section 409 IPC is concerned, the commission of a criminal breach of trust by the banker is a must.

As per Section 405 IPC, it requires entrustment of property or with any dominion over property coupled with dishonest misappropriation or conversion to one’s use that property or disposal of the property in violation of the direction of law prescribing the mode in which such trust is to be discharged or of any legal contract, expressed or implied which the person has made touching discharge of such trust or willfully suffers any other person so to do.

In the instant case, the petitioner was not directly entrusted with property which was bank accounts and FDR information pertaining to complainants. Hence no dishonest misappropriation or conversion to petitioner’s use of the information pertaining to complainants bank accounts by use of same in judicial proceedings, as by bringing the said information before the Court she wanted to bring before the conduct of complainants’ son

There can not be said to be any dishonest use or disposal of information pertaining to bank accounts of complainants and their FDRs.

Therefore, in view of the above discussion, it was noted that the trial court failed to meet the parameters of the law and required the impugned order to be set aside. [Chavi Anurag Goyal v. State, Criminal Revision No. 19 of 2021, decided on 24-2-2022]

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.

Punjab and Haryana High Court
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]