If a man arranges an alternative accommodation for his estranged wife, she cannot compel her husband to leave his house, the Delhi High Court has ruled.
Justice M L Mehta gave the ruling while disposing of a city's resident plea for quashing of his wife's complaint for his prosecution under domestic violence Act.
As per the domestic violence Act provision, the complaint had also sought the man's eviction from his house, where his wife too had been living since her marriage.
Rejecting the woman's contention for direction to her husband to stay in his farm house at Sohna in Haryana, Justice Mehta, however said the woman will continue to live with her husband till an alternative accommodation is arranged for her, the offer for which was given by the man.
"The question that may arise is as to whether she, while having a right of residence in the shared household where she has been living for about nine years, and that when both of them cannot live together, and the flat cannot be partitioned, whether the petitioner -man should be directed to remove himself or the petitioner can be directed to make arrangement of alternative accommodation -for his wife.
"The objective of providing right of residence to the wife under the domestic violence act was that she should not be left homeless by an action of the husband," said the court.
"In a situation like this, I cannot persuade myself to agree with the wife that the petitioner, who is the owner of the house and in view of the settlement that was arrived at between them by virtue of which she got few properties, should be directed to leave the premises and made to stay in a farm house at far away place at this stage," the court said.
Terming the man's offer to his estranged wife to arrange alternative accommodation for her as "just and reasonable", the court said, "Till alternative arrangement of a suitable two bed room accommodation is made by the petitioner for his wife, she would continue to stay there."
"And in case, they are unable to live together any longer, the petitioner would give her market rent for a two bed room accommodation in a similar locality..." the court said.
After deciding the issue of wife's right to residence, Justice Mehta remanded the matter back to the magisterial court, where the woman's compliant under the DV Act is pending, for resolution of other contentions raised in it.
The man had sought quashing of his wife's complaint under domestic violence act against him on ground that he has been regularly paying her Rs. 33,000 as maintenance since November 2007 apart from the expenses to run the house.
The man had sought quashing of his wife's compliant saying he has also deposited about Rs 80 lakh with a bank in her name after their marriage in 1990 and she has been availing its interest and that he had also bought two residential plots for her in Gurgaon and was taking care of their daughter's studies in Australia.
He had countered his wife's allegations in her complaint the he was an alcoholic and drug addict and was not able to give up the addiction and that's why she wanted to live separately from him.