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Alternate accommodation under the domestic violence act

By Shivendra Pratap Singh

My wife wants alternate accommodation because she does not like to live with me. She filed a complaint under section 12 of the domestic violence act and claimed residence order along with protection order. 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. The court is likely to pass temporary accommodation order so what should I do?

She has right to claim alternate accommodation if you refuse to give her separate residence in the shared household. Wife has the primary right to reside in a shared house. Hence, the husband cannot scuttle her right merely by refusing. In such condition, the court can direct you to provide alternative accommodation or pay rent for the same.

Section 19 (1) (f) of the Domestic Violence Act (DV Act) confers right upon the wife to claim alternate accommodation. More importantly, she cannot request it as a matter of right. If violence erupted in a shared household which likely to cause danger to her life, then she can seek relief of residence order, and alternate accommodation is the intrinsic part of that relief.

Alternate Accommodation

The court can pass an order of alternate accommodation if the husband or his relatives commit violence and refuses to provide separate shelter in a shared household [Shalini v. Kishor, (2015) 11 SCC 718]

It is not an absolute right. Therefore, she cannot claim alternate accommodation primarily. The court may pass such order only in the conditions mentioned above.

Domestic violence act is protective legislation, enacted to protect the woman from domestic violence as well as protect her right to residence in the marital home. Meanwhile, the court does not pass a general order. Instead of it the court examines the facts of the case and decides whether alternate accommodation is the last resort to secure peaceful abode for the wife?

Shared Household

If yes, then the court passes an order for alternate accommodation. This right is available exclusively against the shared household. The shared home does not include house belonging to her in-laws. [A. R. Hashir v Shima AIR 2016 Ker] 

S.R. Batra v. Taruna Batra (2007) 3 SCC 169 

The Supreme Court has explained the scope of the shared household as:

The property (shared home) which neither belongs to the husband nor is taken on rent by him, nor is it a joint family property in which the husband is a member, does not regard as a “shared household.

Since you admit that she has spent only two years in her matrimonial home, it infers that she has resided in this house since her date of marriage.

Anand v Vinita 2016 (1) RCR

If the husband has no other residence except the house of his father or mother and wife resided in the house immediately after marriage in the capacity of daughter-in-law then house treated as shared household. Consequently, in these circumstances, you are bound to provide alternate accommodation because the facts and circumstances of the case are supporting her claim.

My husband filed divorce just after 7 months of marriage. We had a small fight after which his parents and he mentally tortured me and forced my parents to take me back to my paternal home. After which a family meeting was held to reconcile but my husband and his parents did not agreed and after some days they filed divorce. After which I filed DV. But I want to continue my marital life with my husband and I don’t want to divorce him. Now I am living in a rental premise. We used to live in a joint family along with my husband’s parents and his brother who is not married.

Can the court order me to enter to the same house of my husband or order him to give him the rent ? As I am a working lady so is there any chance of getting alternation accommodation ? And also I don’t want to divorce him.

Question from: Assam

Your husband cannot file a divorce case within one year of marriage. There is no exceptional hardship to bring a divorce case after seven months of marriage. Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act prohibits to file a divorce case within one year of marriage. Hence, you can contest the case on this point.

So far as alternate accommodation is concerned, it is a legal right of wife to stay in the matrimonial home. If husband or his relatives are committing any violence then court can order for alternate accommodation. Husband will provide alternate accommodation in the same shared household or any other suitable place outside. If you are living outside the matrimonial home then your husband will pay the rent thereof. It does not matter that you are a working lady and capable to pay the rent.

Actually, the court enforces the legal right of wife by giving order to provide an alternate accommodation to the wife. Husband cannot deprive the wife to live with him in the matrimonial home. It is your right and you should claim it in the provisions of Domestic Violence Act.

Other useful advice

Protection order under the domestic violence act

Protect the aggrieved person from any possible act of domestic violence is the prime object of the Protection of Woman from Domestic Violence Act 2005. Section 18 of the DV Act provides such a power to the Magistrate to impose some restrictions upon the respondent to refrain himself from committing any act of domestic violence.

Sister in law wants to expel me from the matrimonial home

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