oppn parties Brother-in-Law Can Be Ordered To Pay Maintenance

News Snippets

  • The government decides to decriminalize more than two-thirds of penal sections in the Companies Act
  • Muslim groups tell the Supreme Court that they want the Babri Masjid to be restored
  • Muslim groups claim that while they were asked questions in court, Hindus were not questioned
  • Postpaid mobile services restored in Jammu & Kashmir from today, but still no internet
  • Abhijit Banerjee, an Indian-American currently a professor at MIT, wins the 2019 Noble prize in economics jointly with two others
  • Industrial output slumps in August as the IIP shrinks by 1.1%
  • Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping watch a cultural show at the Shore Temple in Mamallapuram
  • J&K administration lifts the ban on entry of tourists in the Valley, but it remains doubtful how many will visit without being able to use mobile phones and internet
  • After Sena asks members to support the BJP candidate in Kalyan, 26 party corporators and 300 members resign setting off a crisis
  • The Centre sets up a 12-member committee to suggest systemic changes in the GST structure to improve compliance and collection, prevent misuse and evasion and rationalize rates and slabs
  • In line with the RBI outlook on the Indian economy, rating firm Moody's also downgrades growth forecast from 6.8% to 5.8% this year, saying the economy is experiencing a pronounced slowdown
  • HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh says the financial system in India does not offer foolproof security for misuse of the savings of the common man
  • Shivinder Singh and Malvinder Singh, promoters of Ranbaxy and Fortis, arrested for their role in Religare Finvest scam
  • Supreme Court says marriage can be dissolved if it has broken down irretrievably
  • DA of Central government staff hiked by 5% to 17%
Sourav Ganguly is the new president of BCCI, says conflict of interest is a big concern
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Brother-in-Law Can Be Ordered To Pay Maintenance

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The Supreme Court has ruled that a “respondent” under the Domestic Violence Act can also mean the brother-in-law of the aggrieved person and he can be ordered to pay maintenance to the widow under the said act. In the case Ajay Kumar vs [email protected], a division bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta ruled that if a widow is ejected from her matrimonial house which was joint ancestral property, the brother-in-law was liable to pay her maintenance. In the instant case, the deceased used to run a kirana store jointly with his brother and they used to stay in the same ancestral house. Upon the death of the deceased, the brother did not allow the widow and her child to stay in the house.

The trial court ruled that the brother-in-law was liable to pay Rs. 4000 per month to the widow and Rs, 2000 per month for the child. The High Court had confirmed the order. Aggrieved by this, the brother-in-law approached the Supreme Court on the plea that there were no provisions in the act to make him liable for paying maintenance. The Supreme Court observed that "The proviso indicates that both, an aggrieved wife or a female living in a relationship in the nature of marriage may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner, as the case may be”. It further clarified that “Section 2(f) defines the expression 'domestic relationship' to mean a relationship where two persons live or have lived together at any point of time in a shared household when they are related by consanguinity, marriage or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are members living together as a joint family…. All these definitions indicate the width and amplitude of the intent of Parliament in creating both an obligation and a remedy in the terms of the enactment."

Observing that the case of the complainant was that she was living in a joint family and that this was true, the court ruled that "Ultimately, whether the requirements of Section 2(f); Section 2(q); and Section 2(s) are fulfilled is a matter of evidence which will be adjudicated upon at the trial. At this stage, for the purpose of an interim order for maintenance, there was material which justifies the issuance of a direction in regard to the payment of maintenance." The court upheld the High Court order.