Domestic Violence Cannot Be Used as a Ploy by Son to Claim Father’s Property On The Strength Of Wife’s Right of Residence: Delhi HC

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This article is written by Eugenia EnyonamDatsomor.

Introduction

Domestic violence refers to an abuse in a domestic home such as marriage or cohabitation. Thus, it is committed by someone in the victim’s domestic circle. This includes partners, ex-partners, immediate family members, other relatives and family friends. It can be in the form of physical, sexual or psychological abuse.

Recently, a case was brought before the court where the son wanted to take possession of the father’s property on grounds of domestic violence. Subsequently, the father filed a suit against his son and daughter-in-law seeking a decree of Permanent injunction against them thereby restraining them from disposingof the suit property.

Per the Court

  1. It was held on Tuesday by the Delhi High Court, that the provision of Domestic violence could not be used as a ploy by a son for his father’s residence and that of his wife.Justice Pratibha Sing observed thus,the provisions of the DV Act cannot be used as a ploy by the son, to either claim a right in his father’s property or continue to retain possession of the father’s property on the strength of his wife’s right of residence.
  2. A civil dispute relating to ownership of property cannot be converted, in this manner, into a case under the DV Act, as the same would amount to be an abuse of the beneficial provisions of the DV Act, by stretching it over and beyond its purpose and ambit”.
  3. A suit seeking a decree of a permanent injunction by the father was filed against his son and daughter in law thus impeding them from casting off the suit property. He held that being the owner of the property, a permanent injunction was needed because of constant arguments between the defendant’s being his son and daughter in law.
  4. The defendant’s also held that the said property was obtained from a joint family fund and retrieved from the former property to which he was a stakeholder under the application Order 12 Rule 6 of CPC.
  5. A decree was passed by the trial court in favour of the plaintiff and it was made known that the defendants were merely licensees. It was confirmed by the first appellate court. This was further challenged by way of a second appeal in court by the defendant.
  6. Evaluating the case and relying on a plethora of judgement on the issue, it was held by the court that the father was not in a financially stable condition and needed legal aid to be able to follow through before the trial court to which it was further stated “These pleas are much generalised, and appear to be pleas which are taken to highlight the domestic problem within the family members rather than to set up a case under the DV Act. Admittedly, there are no complaints that have been preferred against the father in law and therefore no case filed or pending under the DV Act, or any other legislation at the instance of the daughter in law, the court observed.”
  7. At a later date, it was made notice that allegations levelled against the brother/ dear in the written document, would not lead to a shared household, where the right of residence would have to be obtained by the daughter in law.

“While the DV Act is social welfare legislation granting protection to women who are victims of domestic violence, every dispute amongst family members cannot be converted into a dispute under the DV Act. The same ought not to be allowed to happen, as it may cause unintended misuse of the provision of the said Act creating turmoil within families, especially when there is no matrimonial dispute whatsoever between husband and the wife, that is son and daughter in law, the court observed at the outset.

Subsequently, the appeal was dismissed by the court, and it was made known that the holdings of the trial court and the first appellate court need no intrusion.

Writer’s opinion

It can be observed that based on this current judgement by the court on this case that a child cannot possess the property of the parent on basis of domestic violence. Actions such as these taken will be considered void. Thus, this present case law backs the new principle which has been stated.

 

This article is edited by Dhruv Kapoor, FIMT, affiliated to GGSIPU.

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