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In-laws can't be burdened with liability towards woman: Court

In-laws can’t be burdened with liability towards woman: Court

In-laws cannot be burdened with any kind of liability towards a woman, whether directly or indirectly, and all such responsibilities should be of her husband, a Delhi court has said.

The court’s observations came on an appeal filed by the father-in-law of a woman, in a domestic violence case, against a trial court order directing him to pay arrears of electricity dues and to continue paying electricity charges for the premises occupied by her.
“In-laws of a wife cannot be burdened directly or indirectly with any liability towards a wife. All such direct liabilities are to be directed against her husband and the estate of the husband,” Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala said.

The court while setting aside the trial court order to make payment of all subsequent electricity bills in respect of premises occupied by the woman said keeping the legal position in mind it is not sustainable.

“As per law right to residence is not extended, against the self acquired property of in-laws of a wife. This right is to be exercised against husband and against a property, wherein husband of a wife has some sort of right or interest or title, which is referred as shared household,” it said.

It said that the trial court shall take care that such burden is not put upon in-laws of respondent (woman) directly or indirectly and directed her to get separate electricity meter in her name and seek reimbursement from her husband.

The court noted that in compliance with the trial court order, father-in-law has already opted to make payment of arrears of electricity bills and the electricity connection was already restored.

While accepting the appeal, the court said that father- in-law of the woman shall not be further burdened with any liability to make payment of subsequent electricity bills.

Delhi resident Ramesh Kumar has filed an appeal against the trial court order on the ground that he has no liability to maintain his daughter-in-law.

He contended that even his daughter-in-law had not sought any directions against further payment of electricity dues, still the trial court directed him to make the payment of electricity charges of the premises occupied by her.

However, the woman contested his appeal taking plea that her father-in-law was acting in connivance with her husband.

The woman had claimed that out of maintenance amount of Rs 3500, she cannot make payment of electricity charges and her husband was not making any payment as the electricity meter was installed in his father’s name.

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