The Delhi High Court quashed an FIR lodged against a lady on the plea of her father-in-law for suspected house trespass and theft at her matrimonial home. The court ruled that a woman's entry into her matrimonial home is the legal right that she is entitled to exercise.
On April 11, a single-judge bench led by Justice Anish Dayal acknowledged the woman's "severe charges of cruelty" against her husband and in-laws, including claimed dowry demands and physical assault on behalf of her husband.
The woman claimed she was forced to swallow 'All Out' mosquito repellant and pointed to her MLC (medico-legal case) from March 12, 2022, in which she was sent to the hospital with an alleged history of physical assault by her spouse, followed by ingesting 'All Out'. The court noted that the woman was advised during the release that particular care was required due to her head injury, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
Woman’s Entry Into Matrimonial Home
In light of the facts and circumstances indicated above, the court found that the complaint upon which the FIR was filed appeared to be unjustified, without legal foundation, and made merely to pressurise the petitioner. Thus, the high court invalidated the FIR filed against the woman.
The high court was hearing the woman's petition to have an FIR brought against her by her father-in-law on accusations of house trespass and theft under the Indian Criminal Code in the matrimonial house where she lived after her marriage was dismissed. The woman married in December 2021 and was living at the Rohini matrimonial residence.
She filed a complaint under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (2005), fearing that she would be evicted from the shared household as a result of alleged physical, mental, and emotional torment by her in-laws. On April 26, 2022, a metropolitan magistrate issued the woman a protective order "restraining the respondents therein from dispossessing her from the matrimonial home without following due process of law."
In-Laws Refused the Woman to Let Her Enter The House
The woman claimed that when she returned home from court, the doors were locked and she had to spend the night at her parents' house. She claimed that the next day when she returned, her husband and in-laws were present but refused to let her into the house. When she went to the police for assistance, the officers also discovered that the house was locked, leaving her with no choice except to use a spare set of keys to access her matrimonial home.
Her in-laws filed an appeal against the protection order, which was stayed on April 28, 2022, by an extra sessions judge. When the woman applied for a vacation of stay on May 9, 2022, the Additional Session Judge (ASJ) ordered that her in-laws not engage in any illegal act of evicting the woman from the marriage household.
The top court reviewed the facts and determined that the woman's matrimonial residence was undisputed. Even though the FIR stated that the woman was not residing at the matrimonial home and was instead residing at her parent's home, the court stated that "it is clear from the sequence of events that she was staying at her parental house temporarily since she was denied entry into the matrimonial home for which she had to seek orders of protection under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act."
The woman had an "undeniable right" to reside in the shared property, according to the high court, and had received a protection order.
Suggested Reading: SC Allows Women To File Dowry Harassment Cases From Anywhere