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The element of living in ‘permanency’ is also to be examined to determine the character of being a shared household: High Court of Delhi

The fact remains that the petitioner never resided with parents-in-law and always stayed at the place of posting of her husband and visited them occasionally. However, it cannot be lost sight of the fact that petitioner had been living with her husband in ‘official accommodation’ at the place of his posting and she cannot claim the said official accommodation as the shared household, but the element of living in ‘permanency’ has also to be seen. This was held in VIBHUTI WADHWA SHARMA v. KRISHNA SHARMA AND ANR. [W.P.(C) 5309/2021 & W.P.(C) 5313/2021] in the High Court of Delhi by a single bench consisting of JUSTICE SURESH KUMAR KAIT.

Facts are that the petitioner is the daughter-in-law and the respondents are her parents-in-law. The mother-in-law has property bearing purportedly in her name. According to petitioner, the property in question is a shared household property where she had lived with her husband and so, she cannot be alienated from the said property. Petitioner is seeking setting aside of order passed by the Appellate Court under S.19(1)(d) of DV Act, 2005.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the judgment passed by the learned Appellate Court shows non-application of mind, as it has been passed without considering the facts and circumstances of the case.

The counsel for the respondent submitted that the property in question is in the name of mother-in-law and being the sole owner, she has a legal right to alienate or sell the property as per her wish and so, the Agreement to Sell is a valid agreement and petitioner has no right to challenge it.

The court made reference to the judgment delivered by Apex court in Satish Chandra Ahuja Vs. Sneha Ahuja., wherein it had been observed that “The words “lives or at any stage has lived in a domestic relationship” have to be given its normal and purposeful meaning. The living of a woman in a household has to refer to a living which has some permanency. Mere fleeting or casual living at different places shall not make a shared household. The intention of the parties and the nature of living including the nature of household have to be looked into to find out as to whether the parties intended to treat the premises as shared household or not. As noted above, the 2005 Act was enacted to give a higher right in favour of women.

The court in order to determine whether parents-in-law, can be restrained to sell of the house or permitted to do it also referred to para 90 of the above-mentioned judgment wherein it was observed that,“We need to observe that the right to residence under Section19 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”

Considering the facts of the petition and the precedents the court held that the order of the appellate court suffers from no illegality or infirmity while dismissing the petition.

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