A divorced wife would not be entitled to the right of residence bestowed under Section 17 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, the Kerala High Court has held. The Division Bench comprising Justices K. Vinod Chandran and MR Anitha held that the said right is accessible only to a woman in a domestic relationship. However, the court observed that a divorced wife occupying a shared household can be ejected only in accordance with law.
In the instant case, the court noted that the complainant was in a domestic relationship as a wife at the time the application was filed before the Magistrate's Court under the DV Act. We find the application filed by the wife against the husband before the Family Court to be maintainable, since she was in a domestic relationship at the time the jurisdiction was invoked, the bench said.
The bench was considering a reference from a single bench which noticed a conflict between two single bench judgments Sulaiman Kunju v. Nabeesa Beevi. The conflict is with respect to the rights of a divorced woman to invoke the provisions of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. The court also considered the question whether the order of residence obtained by a wife in a shared household would seize automatically on a divorce being granted subsequently.