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Laws meant to protect women are being “blatantly abused and misused” to silence in-laws, a Delhi court has observed and made it clear that the judiciary would effectively prevent such “illegal conduct”.

The court made the observations while granting relief of possession of property to a 70-year-old widowed woman who has accused her estranged daughter-in-law of illegally entering and staying in her house.

“The case in hand reflects the manner in which the special laws for protection of women are being blatantly abused and misused only to silence and arm-twist the in-laws.

The courts of law cannot permit such an abuse. Needless to say, courts of law would certainly and effectively step in for redressal in order to stop this inappropriate and illegal conduct,” Additional District Judge Kamini Lau said.

The court directed the daughter-in-law and her two children, who are major, to peacefully vacate the property of her mother-in-law in Shastri Nagar here within six months.

“In the meanwhile, till such time they (daughter-in-law and her children) continue to be in possession of the suit property, I hereby restrain defendants… from dispossessing the plaintiff (mother-in-law) forcibly and illegally from property of Shastri Nagar here and from disposing off, selling off or parting with possession of the plaintiffs…,” it said.

She said in her petition that due to strained relations, her daughter-in-law had left the marital house in 1983 and the couple was legally separated in 1984. The aged woman said her son died in 2007 after which her daughter-in-law illegally entered her house and refused to vacate it.

The daughter-in-law, in her response, said her mother-in-law has not placed on record any document showing her ownership of the property and claimed that her husband had not given her divorce. So, all his legal heirs had legal right in the property as she had also contributed in constructing the house, she claimed.

The court, however, said it was established that the suit property was in the name of the mother-in-law and on the date of filing of the suit, she was residing there. “Hence, and in order to safeguard the interest of the mother-in-law and a senior citizen, in the property, I hereby hold that the plaintiff is entitled to relief of possession and injunction as asked for in the plaint,” it said. — PTI


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