Wife as homemaker entitled to equal right in properties, says Madras HC: Report | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Wife as homemaker entitled to equal right in family properties, says Madras HC: Report

Jun 25, 2023 07:58 PM IST

Justice Krishnan Ramasamy said that there was no provision regarding the contributions made by a wife, but that court could observe it.

The Madras High Court, in a recent judgement, held that when a wife contributes to the acquisition of various assets in a family by performing household chores, then she should be entitled to an equal share in the family properties, as she has also contributed to their purchase.

Madras High Court (File)
Madras High Court (File)

The court said, “The contribution which wives make towards acquisition of the family assets by performing their domestic chores, thereby releasing their husbands for gainful employment, would be a factor which, this court would specifically take into account while deciding the right in the properties either the title stand in the name of the husband or wife and certainly, the spouse who looks after the home and cares for family for decades, entitled to a share in the property.”

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Justice Krishnan Ramasamy also said that there was no provision regarding the contributions made by a wife, but that court could observe it.

He said, “No law prevents the Judges from recognizing the contributions made by a wife facilitating her husband to purchase the property. In my view, if the acquisition of assets is made by joint contribution (directly or indirectly) of both the spouses for the welfare of the family, certainly, both are entitled to equal share.”

The case

The court was hearing a dispute between a couple who got married in 1965. In 2002, the husband Kannaian Naidu had filed an injunction suit stating that while he worked abroad, his wife tried to take over properties bought on his behalf by his money.

LiveLaw stated that Naidu also alleged that his wife was seeking help of a man to alienate properties and had been living a wayward life.

Whereas, the wife stated that she was entitled to a right over the properties since she took care of the family while the husband lived abroad and hence had given up on her employment opportunities.

She further said that she sold her ancestral properties to fun her husband's trips. Adding that she saved money by tailoring and tutoring from which she bought some of the properties mentioned in the suit.

Court's observation

The court said that usually in marriages, “The wife bears and rears children and minds the home”. The court said, that the wife frees her husband for conducting economic activities. It further said that since it is her duty which enables the husband to perform his own. “She is in justice, entitled to share in its fruits", the court added.

The court observed, “For taking care of the children and family, it is nothing like 8 hours job, what the husband was doing abroad but it is 24 hours job. The 1st defendant, being a wife, had physically contributed to the family for 24 hours. However, the husband, out of his 8 hours job at abroad, had financially contributed to the family and sent the money out of his savings, from which they had purchased the property. The said savings were done because of the 24 hours efforts put by the 1st defendant/wife for the family, whereby she had made her husband to save money without contributing much towards the house maid etc., and for payment of money towards other jobs.”

The court also added that the contribution made either by the husband by earning or the wife by serving and looking after the family and children, would be for the welfare of the family and both are entitled equally to whatever they earned by their joint effort.

It said, “The proper presumption is that the beneficial interest belongs to them jointly. The property may be purchased either in the name of husband or wife alone, but nevertheless, it is purchased with the monies saved by their joint efforts.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Sanskriti Falor is a Senior Content Producer at the News Desk of HT Digital. Having worked in Digital Media for the past two years, she is interested in covering civic issues and global affairs.

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