Legal Advice

Stepmother can claim right to residence in uncle’s home

Question: Stepmother can claim right to residence in uncle’s home after death of father. My father died of covid. After that my step mother is claiming the right to residence and share in my uncle’s home. Where she used to live with my father. Can she get right to residence in my uncle’s home and get order of right to residence under domestic violence act?  She lived in the seperate portion of the uncle’s house and we all had separate kitchens.

Advise

Your stepmother can claim the right to residence in your uncle’s home. Because, your uncle’s home comes under the meaning of shared household. Section 2(s) of the Domestic Violence Act defines a shared household for the purpose of domestic violence. 

An aggrieved person can seek remedies under the D. V. Act if she has been facing domestic violence in the shared household. Your stepmother can claim right to residence in your uncle’s home because it is a shared household.

Section 2(s) does not indicate that a shared household shall be one which belongs to or taken on rent by the husband. If the shared household belongs to any relative of the husband with whom in a domestic relationship the woman has lived, the conditions mentioned in S.2(s) are satisfied and the said house will become a shared household. [Satish Chander Ahuja v. Sneha Ahuja AIR 2021 SC (CIVIL) 1]

In Satish Chander Ahuja v. Sneha Ahuja AIR 2021 SC (CIVIL) 1 the Supreme Court has held that shared household includes such a household whether:

  1. A shared household means a household where the person aggrieved has lived or at any stage has lived in a domestic relationship either singly or along with the respondent.
  2. Owned or tenanted either jointly by the aggrieved person and the respondent and owned or tenanted by either of them in respect of which either the aggrieved person or the respondent or both jointly or singly have any right, title, interest or equity and 
  3. Includes such a household which may belong to the joint family of which the respondent is a member, irrespective of whether the respondent or the aggrieved person has any right, title or interest in the shared household. 

This is your uncle’s house and your stepmother has been living there with her husband for some permanency. However, it is not a joint family property but it is a shared household under the D. V. Act. Hence, your stepmother can claim right to residence in this house.

Also read: Residence order under Domestic Violence Act

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow