A woman’s right to a joint household under the Domestic Violence Act takes precedence over a decree her in-laws passed under the Seniors Act, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.
The order is expected to provide the isolation and much-needed respite for women fighting hostile in-laws in court so that they are not evicted from their husbands home. This decision follows a ruling by the Supreme Court two months ago in which the Court found that even if the joint household is a joint family property in which the husband has no statutory right or a joint share, it continues as a joint household for the Family is treated woman in order to continue.
The present case raised a rather interesting conflict between two special laws – the Law on the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (PWDV) of 2005, which aims to protect women from domestic violence, and the Law on the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Seniors of 2007 Protect the elderly by providing a quick and inexpensive remedy to help protect their interests later in life.
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Judges DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra, and Indira Banerjee’s bench analyzed both laws and found that Section 3 of the 2007 Law had an overriding effect on all other laws. It was this argument that the husband’s elderly parents received an eviction notice against their daughter-in-law from their home in Bengaluru. On September 17, 2019, the Supreme Court of Karnataka confirmed the eviction order against the daughter-in-law, who appealed to the Supreme Court.
In response, the bank said: “Section 3 of the Seniors Act of 2007 cannot be used to override and repeal other legal protections, in particular a woman’s right to a shared household under Section 17 of the PWDV Act of 2005. ”
The bank noted that both acts are intended to address wholesome aspects of the common good and the public interest. However, the definition of the term “shared household” is exhaustive, the bank noted, citing the October 2020 Supreme Court ruling addressing similar facts that the wife should be evicted by a court ruling from the elderly in-laws to whom it belonged house in question?
Judge Chandrachud wrote the verdict for the bank, saying, “The law protecting the interests of the elderly is designed to ensure they are not destitute or at the mercy of their children or relatives. Likewise, the purpose of the PWDV Act of 2005 cannot be ignored by a certain legal interpretation. Both pieces of legislation must be interpreted harmoniously. “
The bank protected the petitioner’s wife and ordered that neither her husband nor her in-laws would forcibly attempt to evict her from their joint household for a year until she could use her legal remedies under the PWDV Act.
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The court stated that in similar situations where a woman is exempted from a court under the Seniors Act, she has an obligation to inform the judge hearing her case under the PWDV Act.
In the present case, since the appeal is pending in divorce proceedings between the husband and wife, the Court ordered the restoration of the electricity connection for non-payment of fees and asked the husband to continue to pay the electricity costs. The petitioner’s home is in Hobli in the north of Bengaluru. The lawsuit against the petitioner was brought by her mother-in-law in 2015 under the Seniors Act. Previously, a court ordered the divorce in December 2013, and in March 2014 the petitioner filed for alimony and even appealed to a high court against the pending divorce decree.