Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mad HC: DV Act can’t be used to settle property disputes

Domestic Violence Act can’t be used to settle property disputes, says HC

MADURAI, September 17, 2016

MOHAMED IMRANULLAH S.

Tells woman to file a civil suit if she feels her late husband had a right over his father’s house

A widow cannot lodge a complaint under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 against her father-in-law and sister-in-law if the former had sold his house to the latter who, in turn, resorted to rent control proceedings to vacate the widow from the property, the Madras High Court Bench here said.

Allowing a petition filed by the sister-in-law B. Sakunthala, also a widow , Justice S. Vimala held that a complaint lodged against her under the Domestic Violence Act was an abuse of process of law since she had only resorted to a legal remedy to get her property vacated.

The judge quashed the complaint instituted against the petitioner before a Judicial Magistrate in Dindigul and held that the complainant, Vasantha, could at best prefer a civil suit before a competent court if she was of the view that her deceased husband also had a right over his father’s house.

According to Ms Sakunthala, her father had purchased the house for Rs.12,000 in 1986 and she had purchased it from him for Rs.12.4 lakh in September 2015, utilising the compensation amount received after the death of her husband and son in a motor accident.

Claiming that her brother’s widow Ms. Vasantha, receiving a family pension of Rs.12,000 a month, and her daughter have been staying in the house as tenants on payment of monthly rent of Rs.2,500 to her father, the petitioner said the mother and daughter had initially agreed to vacate the property by the end of last year.

However, they did not keep their promise, forcing the petitioner to institute eviction proceedings under the Rent Control Act early this year. In the meantime, Ms. Vasantha filed a case under the Domestic Violence Act seeking to restrain the petitioner and the latter's father from vacating her and demanding Rs.5 lakh towards maintenance.

Alleging that the complaint under the Domestic Violence Act had been filed only to extract money, the petitioner said the judicial magistrate too had erred in entertaining the complaint.


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