Right of woman in matrimonial house cannot be defeated by invoking summary procedure: Supreme Court

By: |
December 15, 2020 9:40 PM

The top court said object of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDV) is to provide and recognise the rights of women to secure housing and reside in a matrimonial home or a shared household, whether or not she has any title or right in the shared household.

Supreme Court of India

Right of a woman to stay in a shared matrimonial household cannot be defeated by securing an order of eviction by adopting the summary procedure under the Senior Citizens Act 2007, the Supreme Court said Tuesday.

The top court said object of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDV) is to provide and recognise the rights of women to secure housing and reside in a matrimonial home or a shared household, whether or not she has any title or right in the shared household.

“Allowing the Senior Citizens Act 2007 to have an overriding force and effect in all situations, irrespective of competing entitlements of a woman to a right in a shared household within the meaning of the PWDV Act would defeat the object and purpose which the Parliament sought to achieve in enacting the latter legislation,” a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud said.

The top court said the law protecting the interest of senior citizens is intended to ensure that they are not left destitute, or at the mercy of their children or relatives.

“Equally, the purpose of the PWDV Act 2005 cannot be ignored by a sleight of statutory interpretation. Both sets of legislations have to be harmoniously construed.”

“Hence the right of a woman to secure a residence order in respect of a shared household cannot be defeated by the simple expedient of securing an order of eviction by adopting the summary procedure under the Senior Citizens Act 2007.,” the bench, also comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee, said.

The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by a woman against an order of the Karnataka High Court which asked her to vacate the matrimonial house.

The father-in-law and mother-in-law had filed an application under the provisions of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 20071, and sought her daughter-in-law’s eviction from a residential house in North Bengaluru.

The Division Bench of the high court by its judgment of September 17, 2019 held that the suit premises belonged to the mother-in-law (the Second respondent) of the appellant and the remedy of the appellant for maintenance and shelter lies only against her estranged husband.

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