S.R. Batra And Anr. v. Smt. Taruna Batra (2006)

FACTS:- The Respondent, Taruna Batra married Amit Batra on 14th April 2000. After their marriage, the Respondent started living with her husband in the house of Appellant no. 2 (Amit Batra’smother). Amit Batra filed a divorce petition against the Respondent and the Respondent countered by filing a First Investigation Report (FIR) under Section 406, 498A, 506 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The Respondent’s father-in-law, Appellant no. 2 (mother-in-law), sister-in-law were arrested by the police and were granted bail after 3 days. Respondent moved to her parent’s residence due to the divorce dispute with her husband.In the present dispute, the Respondent alleged that when she tried to enter the house of Appellant no. 2 the main entrance was locked. So, she filed a suit for a mandatory injunction so that she can enter the house of Appellant no. 2, which was also the house she stayed at after her marriage. The appellants in defence stated that the Respondent along with her parents forcibly broke open the locks of Appellant no. 2’s house and that terrorized them, so for some time, they stayed in their office. The Appellants also stated that Amit Batra had shifted to his own flat before the litigation between the parties had started.

ISSUES:-

● Whether the Respondent has any rights against the Appellant no. 2’s house?

● Whether the Appellant no. 2’s house is a ‘shared household’?

● Whether the Respondent can claim for an alternative accommodation against the Appellants?

JUDGEMENT & ANALYSIS:- The Supreme Court of India pronounced its judgement on 15thDecember 2006. The court held that the wife has rights only against her husband and not against her father-in-law or mother-in-law. In this case, the house in questions belongs to Appellant no. 2, who is the mother-in-law of the Respondent and not her husband, therefore, she has no rights over that house. Further, the Respondent cannot claim a mandatory injunction against the Appellants because she was not in possession of Appellant no. 2’s house as she moved to her parents’ house.Appellant no. 2’s house cannot be a ‘shared household’ of the Respondent, therefore she cannot claim a right to residence in the household in questions because the household in question neither belongs to her husband, nor was taken on rent by her husband, nor belongs to the joint family of which the husband if a family member, rather it is an exclusive property under the name of Appellant no. 2 who is the mother-in-law of the Respondent. The claim for alternative accommodation can only be made against the husband and not against the in-laws or other relatives. The Appellants being the in-laws of the Respondent, she cannot claim an alternative accommodation.

CONCLUSION:- The Supreme Court of India allowed the appeal of the Appellants, set aside the impugned judgement of the High Court of Delhi and the order of Senior Civil Judge, finally dismissing the injunction application of the Respondent.

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