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Alternate accommodation under the domestic violence act

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate (Lucknow)

Online advising since Oct. 2014

Domestic Violence

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Question: My wife wants alternate accommodation under the Domestic Violence Act. She filed a complaint under section 12 of the domestic violence act and claimed residence order and protection order. There was some dispute between her and my mother. She has lived in my house only for two years, during her stay in the matrimonial home she always created chaos on petty issues. She has ruined my life, and now I want to get rid of her. Can the Magistrate direct me to provide to her an alternate accommodation?

Question from: Uttar Pradesh

Your wife has the right to live in her matrimonial home. Right to residence is an important right. Section 17 of the D. V. Act provides to her such a right. However, she has no title or proprietary right in your house but she has the right to reside therein. It is your utmost responsibility to provide a roof on her head.

She can claim right to residence in the shared household only. The meaning and scope of a shared household is very broad. Generally, a place where she lives or has lived after marriage is a shared house. The Supreme Court of India has extended the scope of shared house in the interest of the victim of domestic violence.

Alternate Accommodation

Section 19(1)(f) of the DV Act empowers the Magistrate to pass the order of alternate accommodation in favour of a victim of domestic violence. If your wife successfully proves the incident of domestic violence in a shared household then the court can pass such an order. If the court finds that living in shared house is unsafe for your wife then the court may direct you to provide an alternate accommodation which should be the same as to the shared house.

There is a condition precedent for providing a relief of alternate accommodation. The court will examine the apparent danger to her life in the shared house, your financial condition and ultimately prevailing circumstances of the case. Relief of alternate accommodation is very much subjective. 

Conditions for passing an order of alternate accommodation?

Extreme violence in a shared house: the court may pass the order of alternate accommodation if your wife was facing the highest degree of violence in her matrimonial home (shared house). Highest degree of violence includes severe physical tourture committed by the members of the shared house. This kind of tourture infers that the shared house is not safe for the aggrieved person. Therefore, an alternate accommodation should be provided at expense of the husband. 

Financial condition of husband: the husband will bear all the expense of alternate accommodation hence, the court considers his financial condition. It is the utmost responsibility of the husband to give proper shelter to his wife. Thus, the court presumes that husband has the capacity to bear the expenses of alternate accommodation. Now you have to prove that it would be a financial hardship for you to bear those expenses. 

Read also: Can a divorced wife claim alternate accommodation

Other prevailing circumstances: the court may pass such an order if facts and circumstances of the case so require. This condition has a vast amplitude. The court will examine all relevant facts about fear and danger to the life and limb of your wife. It depends upon the own fact and circumstance of the case. We cannot discuss it here in detail. 

The court can pass an order of alternate accommodation if the husband or his relatives committed violence and refuses to provide separate shelter in a shared household.

Shalini v. Kishor, (2015) 11 SCC 718

Court cannot pass a general order

Domestic Violence Act is a protective legislation, enacted to protect the woman from domestic violence as well as protect her right to residence in the marital home. The court must examine the facts of the case and decide whether alternate accommodation is the last resort to secure a peaceful abode for the wife? 

It appears from the fact of your case that she is not entitled to get alternate accommodation. She has spent only two years in the matrimonial home. She used to fight on petty issues. You can defeat her in the lawsuit if you prove that 

  • She has left her matrimonial home without any reason
  • There was no incident of domestic violence 
  • All the allegations are false and frivolous
  • She has the ulterior motive to harass the husband and in-laws
shivendra pratap singh advocate

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate (Lucknow)

Consult on Criminal, Civil, Writ, Matrimonial, Service matters, Property, Revenue, SARFAESI related cases

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