The Supreme Court, in Manmohan Attavar vs Neelam Manmohan Attavar, has observed that to issue an order under the Domestic Violence Act permitting a party to occupy a household, it is necessary that the two parties had lived in a domestic relationship in the household.
In the instant case, Neelam, the respondent, claims to be the wife of Manmohan Attavar for 20 years. In her own statement, she admitted that she has never stayed with him in the same premises. In a plea before it, the high court issued an order allowing her to stay in those premises. This order was assailed before the apex court.
Incidentally, the appellant’s wife was alive when their affair began and she was apparently aware of the relationship between the parties. The wife of the appellant passed away in February 22, 2010.
The bench comprising Justice RF Nariman and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul observed that the “domestic relationship”, as defined under Section 2 (f) of the DV Act, refers to two persons who have lived together in a “shared household” as defined under Section 2(s) of the DV Act.
“In order for the respondent to succeed, it was necessary that the two parties had lived in a domestic relationship in the household. However, the parties have never lived together in the property in question,” the bench said.
On the facts of the case, the court observed: “It is not as if the respondent has been subsequently excluded from the enjoyment of the property or thrown out by the appellant in an alleged relationship which goes back 20 years. They fell apart, even as per the respondent, more than 7 years ago. We may also note that till 22.2.2010, even the wife of the appellant was alive. We may note for the purpose of record that as per the appellant, he is a Christian and thus there could be no question of visiting any temple and marrying the respondent by applying “kumkum”, and that too when the wife of the appellant was alive.”
The bench also agreed with the submission made on behalf of Manmohan Attavar that there was no reason for the proceedings to be withdrawn from the appellate court to the high court itself.
Read the Judgment Here