Married woman – Matrimonial home – Domestic violence – Maintenance

This blog aims to highlight the rights of married women in their marital homes. It also lists several situations where married women can feel aggrieved when their marital right is violated. This blog explains the remedies that are available to women who find themselves in a similar situation.

What is a matrimonial house?

The matrimonial house is a residence the husband and wife can share. The Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act of 2005 (from now on referred to as “DV Act”) defines a “shared household” as a “household in which the person aggrieved resides or has ever lived in a relationship with the respondent either alone or together, and includes a house that is owned or rented either jointly by both the aggrieved and respondent or by either of them and in which they have either a right, title, an interest.

The husband and wife can set up a matrimonial house together, or it could already exist and be accepted by both parties upon marriage.

Due to her marriage, a married woman is entitled to a number of rights. These rights also include rights related to the matrimonial house. Here are some rights that married women have:

The Right to Reside. A married woman can live in the matrimonial house she was born into after marriage. A woman cannot be physically or mentally forced to leave her marital home unless she is legally required to do so.

The right to maintenance: If a married woman is unable or unwilling to support herself, she has the right to ask her husband to maintain her lifestyle. A married woman forced to leave the marital residence can claim maintenance and costs for her place. If her husband cannot provide her care, a married woman can claim it from her inlaws as part of her rights in the matrimonial house.

A woman married to her husband has the right to live her life and privacy without interruption by her in-laws. This includes physical or mental abuse or harassment and any form of domestic violence.

The Right to Property. According to personal law (if applicable) or any other applicable law, the married woman is entitled to claim her share of the marital estate, including the right to live in the marital home, regardless of whether the house belongs to her husband or her inlaws.

It is both a constitutional and statutory right to seek remedies. Each married woman whose husband has been removed from their marital residence has the right to seek redress through appropriate forums as per law.

Situations in which women are placed

Dowry cases: Under the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, any demand for dowry will be strictly prohibited. According to Section 3 of the Act, any taking or giving of dowry could result in a maximum penalty of five years. If such a demand leads to the victim’s death, the offender may be punished for dowry-related death under Section 304B. Any transaction involving dowry, therefore, is prohibited. A woman forced to leave her home because she cannot pay the dowry demanded by her husband or her inlaws has a legal right to appeal against this removal.

Domestic Violence Cases As per Section 3 (DV Act), ” any act or omission by the respondent that harms the health, safety or life of an aggrieved party or threatens it, including physical abuse, sexual assault, verbal or emotional abuse, and economic abuse.

A woman can be considered a victim of domestic violence if she is harmed in one of the categories above. She can seek recourse if the woman is removed from their matrimonial house because of such violence.

Physical and Mental Cruelty. Physical and mental cruelty can be grounds for divorce. If a wife is subjected to physical or mental abuse by her husband or parents, she may seek legal remedies. Removal from the matrimonial house is also a form of physical and mental abuse. In the case of NG Dastane v. S. Dastane (AIR 1975SC 1534), the Court stated that the inquiry must be made to determine whether the conduct charged as cruelty has a nature that would cause the petitioner to have a reasonable apprehension of harm or injury if he lived with the respondent. Under English law, it is not required that the cruelty is such as to create a ‘danger to life, health, or limb’ or to give rise to a reasonable fear of such danger. It is clear that a danger to life, health, or limb is more important than the reasonable fear of harm or injury to one spouse from living with the other.

Desertion: After removing the married woman from her matrimonial home, two years have passed. The woman can then seek recourse against her husband for desertion. A desertion is a deliberate act that occurs without consent from the spouse who has deserted.

Remedies available

Restitution of Conjugal Rights. Where the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 is applicable, the married woman may file a petition for restitution under section 9 to claim her conjugal right, including the right to reside or cohabitate together.

Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage: If the woman is removed from her matrimonial residence, she can divorce her husband for physical or mental abuse.

Criminal Proceedings: A married woman who has been forced out of her home due to dowry demands, domestic violence, or other physical or mental cruelty may file a criminal complaint against her husband or her inlaws inlaws. This can be done under the Dowry Prohibition Act or Section 498A (Indian Penal Code) of the Indian Penal Code.

The conclusion of the article is

The right of a married woman to live in the matrimonial house with her husband is one of her rights. Women who are displaced from their matrimonial homes can take civil and criminal actions to redress the situation. They may be divorce proceedings, proceedings for restitution or conjugal rights, or criminal proceedings to stop dowry demands, cruelty, or domestic violence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *