Women fighting legal battles to re-enter the ‘‘shared household’’ can enforce their right to cohabit against estranged spouses and not against in-laws under the Domestic Violence Act, a court has said. ‘‘If the interpretation (that the Act provides right to share house with husband’s relatives) is accepted, all houses of the husband’s relatives will be shared households and the wife can well insist in living in them merely because she had stayed there with her husband for some time in the past. Such a view would lead to chaos and would be absurd,’’ additional sessions judge S K Sarvaria said.
The court, which rejected the plea of an estranged wife seeking re-entry into a house of her mother-in-law, cited a Supreme Court judgment on the issue. ‘‘Undoubtedly, when the husband has been living in a rented property somewhere else, wife cannot say that the property owned… by her mother-in-law (even prior to her marriage) is the shared household and she should be allowed to re-enter such property,’’ it said.
‘‘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 belonging to the joint family of which the husband is a member,’’ it said.
It was hearing the appeal filed by a Delhi-based woman, who had challenged the order of a lower court by which she was restrained from entering the house owned by her mother-in-law.