“A daughter-in-law should be treated as family member, not housemaid” and she cannot be "thrown out of her wedding home at any time"
“The way in which sometimes the newly weds bride is treated in most of the houses by the husband, in-law and the relatives, creates a feeling of emotional shock in society"
In a nation where a women, particularly, wedded women has no passionate security and is constantly under an incomprehensible danger that she may need to abandon her supposed home whenever; where the minimum lawful age for marriage for a boy is 21 and girl is 18 contrast inferable from the insignificant outlook that a wife should always be younger than the man; where property legacy rights vary for people, there should be a defensive shield that is held by experts more powerful than citizens. On account of our legal system that sets down numerous such laws that may not counteract abominations against daughter in law but rather, in any event, furnishes with the cover to manage a large portion of them. Presumably, framers of our constitution expected such chances coming their way because of nonstop concealment of woman in the general public for a considerable length of time. This is the reason Article 15(3) of Indian Constitution enables the State to take positive actions in favour of daughter in law. Truth be told, the Constitution of India is one of the documents where sexual orientation fairness has been dealt so well.
Though property rights of women are quite complex. As they become part of a different family after their marriage, the issue gets even more complex. Now, what are the property rights of a married woman?
1. DAUGHTER-IN-LAW CANNOT CLAIM RIGHTS OVER IN-LAWS' SELF- ACQUIRED PROPERTY, THEY HAVE RIGHT OF RESIDENCE ONLY.
A few court orders say that a daughter-in-law has a privilege of residence in a mutual family unit under the Domestic Violence Act. This is regardless of whether the house is owned by her in-laws, and the husband had no ownership rights in the said house. Occasionally, courts have decided that a woman has a privilege to a residence in such a property as long as the wedding connection amongst her and her husband stay intact. In any case, the Supreme Court has decided that a married woman has no privilege on the self-obtained property of her in-laws, as this property can't be treated as shared property.
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 protects all women in domestic relationships who are living alone or together or have lived, at any point of time, in a shared property with the respondents. A domestic relationship includes a relation by blood, adoption, marriage as well as relationships in nature of marriage. Members of a joint family also come within the meaning of a domestic relationship under the Act.
v Shared property- Every woman has a right to live in the shared property according to section 17 of the Act. A shared property as defined by the Act includes a household which is-
i. Owned and rented jointly by the aggrieved woman and the respondent; or
ii. Owned and rented separately by the aggrieved women and the respondent, but in respect to which the aggrieved women or the respondent has an interest, title, right, or equity; or
iii. Joint family's home in which the respondent is a part, even without the bothered individual or respondent having any intrigue, right, or title in it such a house.
A shared property, therefore, does not have to be owned or co-owned by the person who has been violated. Although the definition of a “shared property” is worded very loosely, the Supreme Court in S.R. Batra and Anr. Versus Smt. Taruna Batra held that this definition has to be given an interpretation that does not lead to absurdity. The Court held that a “shared property” would not include the house owned by the parents of the husband in which the aggrieved happened to live.
v Denial of residence in the shared property is domestic violence- Right to live in the shared property is an economic right of women. Denial of access to such a shared property by any action, omission/commission, or conduct of the husband/male partner or any of his relatives is considered to be economic abuse according to the Domestic Violence Act (section 3 explanation 1(iv)(c))
v Right to dwell in a shared property during a divorce proceeding- The privilege to live in the mutual property subsists as long as the household relationship is available. A divorce is the dissolution of the conjugal relationship. In this way, the privilege to live in a common property would normally arrive at an end from the time of divorce. However, any time before such divorce, the protection from domestic violence would exist, including the right to stay in the shared household.
v Reliefs that can be claimed in case of expulsion from shared property
Residence order- If there should arise an occurrence of constrained expulsion from the shared property or refusal to permit passage into such family, the abused party can apply for a residence order. This can be done with the help of above-mentioned authorities. On such application, the magistrate may pass an order of any of the following discussed below.
· Restraining the opposite party from constraining the abused party out of the shared household, or from her ceasing her entrance to it;
· Directing the opposite party to expel himself from the shared household (This can only be passed against a male respondent);
· Restraining the contrary party or any of his/her relatives from entering a bit of the shared household where the oppressed individual lives;
· Restraining the opposite party from offering or seizing the shared household or limiting its free access;
· Restraining the contrary party from disavowing his privilege in the shared property without the Magistrate's authorization;
· Directing the contrary party to get an elective settlement of an indistinguishable level as the shared household, or pay the lease for the same (if conditions require so); Or
· Any other extra conditions or request that the Magistrate accepts is reasonably essential.
In additions to these, the magistrate can also direct the officer-in-charge of the nearest police station to grant protection to the aggrieved women, or provide assistance to her, or the person who applied on her behalf, for its implementation.
2. IF DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AND SON ARE LIVING SEPARATELY
If a house exclusively belongs to a father-in-law and his son is living independently then the daughter-in-law has no right to live in the house no matter what problems she is facing. The property cannot be claimed to be a shared property.
3. IF THE DAUGHTER-IN-LAW IS A WIDOW
Courts have likewise decided that a widowed daughter-in-law has no privilege to live in her daughter-in-laws property against their desires if the property is a self-gained property.
4. PARENTS IN LAW NOT LIABLE FOR MAINTENANCE
The maintenance of wife is the personal obligation of the husband. Accordingly, Section 4 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, any obligation in regard of maintenance of daughter-in-law in the vent of the death of the son cannot be attached upon the self-obtained property of the parents-in-law. The properties indicated only for the sake of guardians can't be the topic of any connection or requirement of any privilege of maintenance of wife against her husband.
5. NO RIGHT OVER MOTHER-IN-LAW'S PROPERTY
There is no legal right on anything that belongs to the mothers in law. A married woman can't assert her privilege on such a property either.
Here is some important daughter in law rights that every married woman must know:
i. Streedhan - Right of women
According to Hindu law, Streedhan alludes to whatever a woman has gotten (counting all versatile, undaunted property, endowments and so forth) during pre-marriage/wedding functions and during the birth of the child. The Supreme Court decides that a woman has absolute rights over Streedhan and she can assert it even after detachment from husband. Denying it would amount to domestic violence making the husband and in-laws at risk to confront criminal indictment. In case the mother in law holds her daughter in law’s Streedhan and she dies without leaving a will, only the daughter in law who’s Streedhan it was has a legal right on it and not the husband or any other family member. To make life less demanding, the lady should play it safe:
· Keeping proof for every one of the endowments got, for example, wedding pictures.
· Having witnesses/proclamations of witnesses for blessings of movables (including jewellery) at the time of marriage
· Maintaining record of the speculations done utilizing Streedhan and guaranteeing that these advantages are in her name.
ii. Matrimonial Home
As indicating by Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, a Hindu wife has a privilege to dwell in her marital home regardless of whether she doesn't claim it. By matrital home, we mean a property that husband either holds or at possibly dwells in. Husband is under commitment to give safe house to his wife and children, regardless of whether rented or owned, irrespective of him sharing the same residence. There have been situations when the connections amongst a couple got harsh and husband left the rented or company-provided accommodation. . Yet, this progression does not free him from giving fundamental support to his better half and and children, where maintenance includes provision for food, attire, habitation, education and medical attendance/treatment and on account of an unmarried daughter also the reasonable expenses of an incident to her marriage.
iii. Parental Home
Supreme Court has chosen that a father is legally fit the bill to allocate his married daughter to have his cooperative society flat after his death, in the process depriving other relatives. The court watches that "there can be almost certainly that where an individual from a corporative society designates a man in consonance with provisions of the rules, on the demise of such member, the helpful society is ordered to exchange all the share or interest of such part for the sake of the nominee. The right of others because of legacy or succession is a subservient ideal". Moreover, if there is no Will left by the father, daughters have measure up to right of heritage as sons to their father's property. Daughter likewise have an offer in the mother's property.
iv. Domestic Violence Act
Hardly any women realize that apart from getting separated on the basis on aggressive behavior at home by the spouse or any of his relatives, there is a decision to make the husband execute "bond to keep the peace", or a " obligation of good conduct" through the Executive, Magistrate. The husband can also be requested to deposit securities (money or property) that will be forfeited if he continues to act violently. The following acts of physical, sexual, mental, verbal and emotional violence fall under the purview of Domestic violence:
· Persistent denial of food
· Insisting on unreasonable sexual conduct
· Constantly keeping a woman out of the house
· Denying the woman to give the custody of children due to which it is causing her mental torture
· Physical violence
· Mocking, discouraging and putting down with the intention of causing mental torture
· Confining the woman at home and not allowing her to be normally socially active
· Abusing his own children in their mother's presence with the intention of causing her mental torture
· Denying the paternity of the children with the intention of inflicting mental pain upon the mother
· Threatening divorce unless dowry is given
1. Varinder kaur vs jitender kumar and another
2. S.R. Batra and Anr. v Smt. Taruna Batra
3. Indra Sarma v V.K.V Sarma