In the case of Ritu Chernalia vs Amar Chernalia and Ors. a woman in a matrimonial dispute filed a petition challenging a Divisional Commissioner’s decision to reverse her eviction but force her to live with her in-laws. A District Magistrate issued the eviction order in accordance with the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act.
The petitioner told the court that she was happy that the eviction had been overturned. She stated her hesitation to live with them, however, because of her tense connection with them and because she had a 9-year-old kid. She did not contest the fact that her in-laws owned the property. She further told the court that although she had been offered different residences, she had turned them down because they were also shared residences.
The respondents claimed to the court that the petitioner residing with them was embarrassing because they were already sharing a home with their married daughter. They asserted that the petitioner was offered five alternatives, which she refused.
Analysis of Courts Order
According to Justice Pratibha M. Singh of the Delhi High Court’s single bench, a daughter-in-law’s right in a joint home is not unassailable and cannot be used to the exclusion of the in-laws. The petitioner’s position, according to the Court, that her in-laws shouldn’t be permitted to reside on their property, conflicted with the consensus on the issue. The Supreme Court’s decision in Satish Chander Ahuja v. Sneha Ahuja, which the bench cited, made it plain that the right is not absolute and cannot be used to exclude in-laws.
Thus, the Court determined that the petitioner’s position that her in-laws shouldn’t be permitted to reside on their property went against the received wisdom on the matter. As a result, the idea of a “shared household” makes it abundantly obvious that the daughter-in-law’s right in a shared household is not absolute and cannot be used to the exclusion of the in-laws. The petitioner’s position—that in-laws shouldn’t be permitted to reside in their own home—runs directly counter to what is generally accepted as true.
The Divisional Commissioner had only ruled that the respondents had the right to remain in the suit property and that its ownership could not be contested, the Court observed. It also said that the petitioner was unwilling to transfer to any other location and was currently occupying the entire property. Given the situation, the court issued an order mandating that the respondents and petitioners share one bedroom. The order further stipulated that the third bedroom be made available to all parties so that the petitioner’s son could use it for studying. The petition was therefore dismissed.