What is Shared Household in Domestic Violence Act?

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Dr. Ashok Dhamija Dr. Ashok Dhamija 1 week, 1 day ago.

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  • #3550

    Udar Ojha
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    Sir, Can you please look into the following query:

    Husband lived in village A due to job. Wife lived in City B along with in-laws in their owned house as she refused to live with the husband because of A being a village. Husband had no title, interest or tenancy in that house. Husband and Wife never lived together in under one roof because separation happened only after 2 months of marriage. Wife filed false DV case showing cause of action at City B in the house of in-laws and trying to make in-laws and husband respondents. Can that house in City B be shared household as per DV Act?

  • #3563

    Definition of “shared household” under Section 2(s) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act is as under:

    “(s) “shared household” means a household where the person aggrieved lives or at any stage has lived in a domestic relationship either singly or along with the respondent and includes such a household whether owned or tenanted either jointly by the aggrieved person and the respondent, or owned or tenanted by either of them in respect of which either the aggrieved person or the respondent or both jointly or singly have any right, title, interest or equity and includes such a household which may belong to the joint family of which the respondent is a member, irrespective of whether the respondent or the aggrieved person has any right, title or interest in the shared household;”

    In the case of S.R. Batra v. Taruna Batra, (2007) 3 SCC 169 : AIR 2007 SC 1118, the Supreme Court held that the house which exclusively belonged to mother-in-law of the woman (respondent) wherein she only lived with her husband for some time in the past after their marriage, was not a “shared household” within the meaning of S. 2(s), hence the respondent woman was held to be not entitled to claim her right to live therein under S. 17 of the above Act. It was held that in order to claim such a right, the property should belong to her husband or it should have been taken on rent by her husband or it should have been a joint family property in which her husband was a member. The Supreme Court held that:

    “As regards Section 17(1) of the Act, in our opinion the wife is only entitled to claim a right to residence in a shared household, and 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. The property in question in the present case neither belongs to Amit Batra nor was it taken on rent by him nor is it a joint family property of which the husband Amit Batra is a member. It is the exclusive property of Appellant 2, mother of Amit Batra. Hence it cannot be called a “shared household”.

    No doubt, the definition of “shared household” in Section 2(s) of the Act is not very happily worded, and appears to be the result of clumsy drafting, but we have to give it an interpretation which is sensible and which does not lead to chaos in society.”

    In a recent case, Manmohan Attavar v. Neelam Manmohan Attavar, (2017) 8 SCC 550, the Supreme Court held that:

    “…the respondent has never stayed with the appellant in the premises in which she has been directed to be inducted. This is an admitted position even in answer to a court query by the respondent during the course of hearing. The “domestic relationship” as defined under Section 2(f) of the DV Act refers to two persons who have lived together in a “shared household”. A “shared household” has been defined under Section 2(s) of the DV Act. In order for the respondent to succeed, it was necessary that the two parties had lived in a domestic relationship in the household. However, the parties have never lived together in the property in question. It is not as if the respondent has been subsequently excluded from the enjoyment of the property or thrown out by the appellant in an alleged relationship which goes back 20 years. They fell apart even as per the respondent more than 7 years ago.”

    In the light of the above legal position and keeping in mind the facts stated in your question, it appears that the house in the city B may not be included in the definition of “shared household”.

         


    Dr. Ashok Dhamija is a New Delhi based Supreme Court Advocate and author of law books. Read more about him by clicking here. List of his Forum Replies. List of his other articles.

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