Question: My husband died on 9th September 2022. My two sisters-in-law’s and mother-in-law are not allowing me to stay in the matrimonial home. They have taken all my husband’s belongings and documents under their possession. I have a 10 year old daughter. I have no source of income and nowhere to go. What should I do?
Asked from: Rajasthan
You have the right to reside in your matrimonial home and this right does not cease to exist after the death of your husband. This is a shared household under Section 2(s) of the Domestic Violence Act 2005. Your in-laws have no right to keep you away from the shared household.
Section 19 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, protects the rights of wife to residence in her matrimonial home. You had lived in this house with your husband. Hence, this house shall be treated as a shared household.
The expression ‘at any stage has lived’ has been used in Section 2(s) of the DV Act, to protect the women from denying the benefit of the right to live in a shared household. Your in-laws cannot restrict your entry in the matrimonial home that you are currently not living there.
This house is still your shared household as per the judgement of hon’ble Supreme Court passed in Satish Chander Ahuja v. Sneha Ahuja, (2021) 1 SCC 414.
The court has held that “We, thus, are of the considered opinion that shared household referred to in Section 2(s) is the shared household of aggrieved person where she was living at the time when application was filed or in the recent past had been excluded from the use or she is temporarily absent.”
In Satish Chander Ahuja v. Sneha Ahuja, (2021) 1 SCC 414 the Supreme Court has held that a wife has the right to reside in her matrimonial home irrespective of the fact that she is not the owner of that house.
You should file a complaint under Section 12 of the DV Act against your in-laws and seek residence order. Your right to residence in the matrimonial home is still in force and your in-laws cannot restrict your entry in this house.