Residence order under domestic violence act

Question asked on: 01/02/2017

My husband and my in-laws are very much adamant to throw me out from the matrimonial home. I have some confrontations with my husband and in-laws because they committed extreme cruelty against me. They are very greedy and intolerable towards any resistance.

My father tried his best to convince them, but the result became zero. I have been living at my parental home and no longer wish to live there, so I want to live in the matrimonial home however they resist. I have filed a case against them under domestic violence and a maintenance case under section 125. I’m not getting any maintenance because my husband used to absent in the proceeding and causing a delay as much as possible from his end.

Advised by: Shivendra Pratap Singh,

You are entitled to get residence order under section 19 of the Protection of Woman from Domestic Violence Act (DV Act) and reside in the marital home with dignity. No person can disturb your possession or commit violence intending to dispossessing you from home.

You have already applied to section 12 of the DV Act, therefore, no need to file another application for seeking residence order. While disposing of that application the court may pass a residence order under section 19 of the said Act. 

Residence order restraints the husband and his relatives from dispossessing or disturbing the possession of aggrieved person from the shared household. You are an aggrieved person as defined in section 2(a) of the DV Act. You have the right to reside in the shared household, and DV Act secures this valuable right. 

Right to reside

Section 12 of the DV Act enables an aggrieved person to seek any relief available to her under section 18 to 22 of the DV Act. Section 17 of the said Act envisaged that every woman in a domestic relationship should have the right to reside in the shared household whether or not she has any right, title or beneficial interest in the shared household.

However, you have no right or title in the matrimonial home, but you are entitled to reside therein. If the court satisfies that your husband or in-laws may commit violence, then the court may pass specific order under section 19 such as:

The right to residence is not an absolute right. Therefore, it has some specific limitations. To get the residence order, wife has to prove that she had lived in a domestic relationship in the household. If a wife never lived in the shared household, then she cannot claim residence order under section 19 of the DV Act [Manmohan Attavar v. Neelam Manmohan Attavar, (2017) 8 SCC 550]

Shared household

Section 2(s) defines a shared household. In S.R. Batra v. Taruna Batra, (2007) 3 SCC 169; the Supreme Court has held that

As regards Section 17(1) of the Act, in our opinion the wife is only entitled to claim a right to residence in a shared household, and a shared household would only mean the house belonging to or taken on rent by the husband, or the house which belongs to the joint family of which the husband is a member.

Hence, you are entitled to seek residence order under section 19 of DV Act. If the court satisfies that you have lived in a domestic relationship, that house is the shared household; then the court may pass residence order if you have dispossessed from that place against your will.  

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Shivendra Pratap Singh

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