The Supreme Court of India has ruled that under the Domestic Violence Act, even the brother-in-law might be ordered to pay the maintenance to a woman. The bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud ruled that as an adult male he is in a domestic relationship with the woman complainant, therefore, he is also liable to pay the maintenance and there is no immunity to him.

Domestic violence in India refers to any sort of violence faced by a woman in the hands of her domestic relatives.

Domestic violence in India refers to any sort of violence faced by a woman in the hands of her domestic relatives. However, when it comes to alimony after divorce on the basis of domestic violence, we all know that a husband is liable to pay it. But what when the husband dies? Most of us aren’t really aware of this.

In one such case, an appeal moved against an interim order by Punjab and Haryana high court was dismissed in the Apex court. The order ruled that the woman’s brother-in-law has to pay Rs 4000 to her and Rs 2000 to his niece since the woman’s husband died recently. This is the monthly maintenance that her husband was supposed to pay, but since he died, it will be his brother who’ll pay the maintenance.

When two people live in the same household, they are said to be in a domestic relationship. Basically, two people who share common domestic life are said to be in a domestic relationship.

What is domestic relationship

When two people live in the same household, they are said to be in a domestic relationship. Basically, two people who share common domestic life are said to be in a domestic relationship. They can be consanguineous or related by marriage, or through a relationship that comes from the nature of marriage, or lives together as the members of joint family.

The case that led to this ruling

There was an appeal in the Apex court against the order ruled by Punjab and Haryana Court. The ruling asked the woman’s brother-in-law to pay the maintenance after the demise of her husband. However, her brother-in-law didn’t agree to this and had moved the Apex court which dismissed his plea. The woman’s husband and brother-in-law used to work together and ran a grocery store. The house was maintained through it and the earnings were divided equally.  But after the demise of her husband, the brother-in-law showed reluctance in paying the alimony, after which an interim order was passed by the Punjab and Haryana High court.

The ruling asked the woman’s brother-in-law to pay the maintenance after the demise of her husband.

In this case, the victim’s family lives together and hence the court ruled, that according to Domestic Violence Act, no male in the family will be given immunity from paying the maintenance, if he has shared a domestic relationship with the victim. The Apex court highlighted the Domestic Violence Act which left no room for doubts. “The substantive part of Section 2(q) of the Act indicates that the expression “respondent” means any adult male person who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved person and against whom relief has been,” the court added.

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