The court stated that a order under the DV Act, 2005 has more standing than an order under the Senior Citizens Act when it comes to a wife’s right to a shared household.
The bench comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee concluded that Section 3 of the 2007 Act had an overriding effect over any other law. The Karnataka High Court had on September 17, 2019, upheld the order of eviction against the daughter-in-law who approached the Supreme Court in appeal.
The SC bench overruled the decision by saying: “Section 3 of the Senior Citizens Act, 2007 cannot be used to over-ride and nullify other protections in law particularly that of a woman’s right to a shared household under Section 17 of the PWDVA, 2005.”
“The definition of ‘shared household’ was exhaustive”, the bench observed, quoting the October 2020 judgment passed by the top court while dealing with similar facts where the wife was sought to be evicted through a trial court decree by the aged in-laws who owned the house in question.
Justice Chandrachud, writing the judgment for the bench, said, “The law protecting the interest of senior citizens is intended to ensure that they are not left destitute, or at the mercy of their children or relatives. Equally, the purpose of the PWDV Act 2005 cannot be ignored by a sleight of statutory interpretation. Both sets of legislations have to be harmoniously construed.”