January 23, 2019
Case name: Shachi Mahajan vs Santosh Mahajan
In the present case, the Daughter-in-law had secured protection order of residence under Section 19 of Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act, 2005 of property in her Mother-in-law’s name (hereinafter referred to as the subject property). However, in a subsequent development, the subject property was sold by the Mother-in-law to a third party by a registered sale deed. In view of the same, the Mother-in-Law contended that as the subject property was sold, the daughter-in-law could not enforce her rights of residence in the shared household.
In view of the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court of Delhi directed the Mother-in-law to provide an alternate residence to the Daughter-in-law and also pay compensation. The findings of the High Court in the case are enumerated below:
- The Court noted that as the subject property stood transferred to a third party by way of a registered sale deed. Neither the husband nor the Mother-in-Law had any surviving share in the subject property.
- The Court was of the view that in the facts of the case equities have to be balance. On the one hand the rights of third party i.e. the purchaser of the subject property has to be balanced vis-a-vis the rights that the Daughter-in-Law is seeking to enforce. The claim is that her husband had a 1/3 rd share in the subject property. Sale Deed placed on record shows the sale consideration as Rs.3,40,00,000/-. Accordingly, direction is liable to be issued to the Mother-in-Law to deposit 1/6th of the sale proceeds (i.e. one half of 1/3rd) with the Trial Court for securing the rights, if any, determined in favour of the Daughter-in-Law and her minor son.
- The Court further noted that action of the Mother-in-Law in selling the subject property, though not strictly illegal, has caused loss to the Daughter- in-Law. Accordingly, one would also have balance the corresponding rights of the parties. On the one hand, Mother-in-Law is alleged to have sold the property for her bona fide needs and third party rights in the subject property have arisen and on the other hand, the Daughter- in-Law is deprived of her rights of residence in the subject property. In this context, the Court made reference to Section 19(1)(f) of the Domestic Violence Act which stipulates that the Magistrate shall secure same level of alternative accommodation for the aggrieved person as enjoyed by her in the shared household or direct payment of rent for the same, if the circumstances so require.
- Thus, the Court directed the Mother -in- Law to ensure that either a ground floor or a first floor is obtained on rent for the residence of the Daughter-in-Law in property similar property to subject property and in the same locality.
- It was also noted by the Court that since the action of the Mother-in-Law has also resulted in removal of a property from the control of the Daughter-in-Law, she has to be granted adequate, fair and reasonable compensation/monetary relief for the deprivation of said property.