S.R. Batra.& Another vs Smt. Taruna Batra - Supreme Court Case

 S.R. Batra.& Another vs Smt. Taruna Batra - Supreme Court Case Summary of Leading Case -

On 15th December, 2006, a two Judges Bench in S.R. Batra.& Another vs Smt. Taruna Batra [Civil Appeal No.5837 of 2006] observed that the definition of ‘shared household’ in Section 2(s) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 has been clumsily drafted and accordingly gave it a sensible interpretation which does not lead to chaos in society.

Rejecting the contention of Respondent that “the definition of shared household includes a household where the person aggrieved lives or at any stage had lived in a domestic relationship”, the Bench held that if such a contention is accepted, then “it will mean that wherever the husband and wife lived together in the past that property becomes a shared household.”

“It is quite possible that the husband and wife may have lived together in dozens of places e.g. with the husband’s father, husband’s paternal grand parents, his maternal parents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces etc. If the interpretation canvassed by the Respondent is accepted, all these houses of the husband’s relatives will be shared households and the wife can well insist in living in all these houses of her husband’s relatives merely because she had stayed with her husband for sometime in those houses in the past. Such a view would lead to chaos and would be absurd. It is well settled that any interpretation which leads to absurdity should not be accepted”, the Bench said.

With regard to Section 17(1) of the Act, the Bench held that “the wife is only entitled to claim a right to residence in a shared household, and a ‘shared household’ would only mean the house belonging to or taken on rent by the husband, or the house which belongs to the joint family of which the husband is a member. The property in question in the present case neither belongs to the husband nor was it taken on rent by him nor is it a joint family property of which the husband is a member. It is the exclusive property of Appellant No.2, mother of the husband. Hence, it cannot be called a ‘shared household’.”

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