Domestic Violence: Supreme Court’s comment on Domestic Violence Act, said women have the right to live in a common house
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday delivered a landmark judgment to protect the interests of women victims of domestic violence. Broadly defining the term ‘right to live in a shared house’, the Supreme Court held that it cannot be limited to actual matrimonial residence, but can be extended to other households regardless of property rights.
A bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice BV Nagarthana passed the order on a petition by a widow from Uttarakhand. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Nainital High Court, while the High Court had upheld the lower court’s order refusing to grant relief to the petitioner under the Protection of Domestic Violence Act. The trial court had said that there was no report of domestic violence against the woman by the security officer.
The bench said that there can be many situations and in domestic relations every woman can exercise her right to live in joint family even if she has no right or vested interest in joint family. Under the above provision, any woman can exercise the said right as an independent right.
Writing a 79-page judgment by the bench, Justice Nagarthana observed that the right of the victim to live in a joint marriage house can be invoked even if there is no report of domestic violence by the security officer under the said Act.
The bench observed that in the Indian social system it is a custom for a married woman to live with her husband. She has the right to live in her husband’s house, even if she does not live in her normal house for any valid reason. It also includes the house in which members of her husband’s family live, even if it is elsewhere.