Thursday 14 December 2023

What is basic concept of matrimonial home and what is the difference between matrimonial home and shared-household?

In Indian law, the concepts of "matrimonial home" and "shared household" are closely related but have distinct meanings and implications.

Matrimonial Home:-

The matrimonial home is the primary residence where a married couple resides during their marriage. It is the place where they establish their marital life, raise their children, and build a shared future. The matrimonial home holds significant emotional and symbolic value, representing the foundation of their marital relationship.

While the matrimonial home is typically owned or rented by one or both spouses, the concept of matrimonial home extends beyond legal ownership. It is the place where the couple has established a joint household, irrespective of their individual property rights.

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act) recognizes the importance of the matrimonial home by granting women the right to reside in it, even if they do not have a legal title to the property. This right is not dependent on the couple's marital status, as it applies even during separation or divorce proceedings.

Shared Household

The term "shared household" encompasses a broader concept than matrimonial home. It refers to any household where a woman has lived or at any stage has lived in a domestic relationship with the respondent. This includes the matrimonial home, but it also extends to other residences, such as the homes of in-laws, parents, or even rented accommodations.

The DV Act explicitly defines "shared household" to include any household where the aggrieved person or the respondent or both jointly or singly have any right, title, interest, or equity. This emphasizes that a woman's right to reside in a shared household is not limited to a place where she holds legal ownership.

Distinction between Matrimonial Home and Shared Household

While the concepts of matrimonial home and shared household overlap to a significant extent, there are subtle distinctions between them:

  • Scope: The matrimonial home is specifically associated with the marital relationship, whereas the shared household encompasses a broader range of living arrangements, including those outside of marriage.

  • Duration of Residence: The matrimonial home typically implies a longer duration of residence, as it represents the established marital home. Shared household may include shorter stays or more temporary living arrangements.

  • Purpose: The matrimonial home primarily serves as the residence of the married couple, whereas the shared household may encompass other purposes, such as cohabitation with other family members or living arrangements in a domestic relationship.

  • Shared household is a genus and matrimonial home is species.

  • S 17 of Domestic violence Act provides right to aggrieved woman to reside in shared household

17. Right to reside in a shared household.—(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, every woman in a domestic relationship shall have the right to reside in the shared household, whether or not she has any right, title or beneficial interest in the same.
(2) The aggrieved person shall not be evicted or excluded from the shared household or any part of it by the respondent save in accordance with the procedure established by law.
S 19 of Domestic violence Act:- Residence orders.—(1) While disposing of an application under sub-section (1) of Section 12, the Magistrate may, on being satisfied that domestic violence has taken place, pass a residence order—
(a) restraining the respondent from dispossessing or in any other manner disturbing the possession of the aggrieved person from the shared household, whether or not the respondent has a legal or equitable interest in the shared household;
(b) directing the respondent to remove himself from the shared household;
(c) restraining the respondent or any of his relatives from entering any portion of the shared household in which the aggrieved person resides;
(d) restraining the respondent from alienating or disposing off the shared household or encumbering the same;
(e) restraining the respondent from renouncing his rights in the shared household except with the leave of the Magistrate; or
(f) directing the respondent to secure same level of alternate accommodation for the aggrieved person as enjoyed by her in the shared household or to pay rent for the same, if the circumstances so require:
Provided that no order under clause (b) shall be passed against any person who is a woman.
(2) The Magistrate may impose any additional conditions or pass any other direction which he may deem reasonably necessary to protect or to provide for the safety of the aggrieved person or any child of such aggrieved person.
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