S.R. Batra and Anr. vs. Smt. Taruna Batra

Ms. Taruna Batra married Amit Batra on April 14, 2000, who is the son of the two appellants Mr. and Mrs. S.R. Batra. After the marriage, Taruna and her husband started residing together as husband and wife on the second floor of B-135, Ashok Vihar, Phase-I, Delhi, while S.R. Batra and his wife resided separately on the ground floor of the same property. The entire property was exclusively owned by Taruna Batra’s mother-in-law, Mrs. S.R. Batra.

Amit Batra filed for divorce, after which Taruna Batra lodged an FIR against her husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law. They were all arrested and granted bail after three days. As a result of the rising tensions, Taruna Batra shifted to her parent’s residence. Amit Batra, too, moved out of the residence and into his own flat in Ghaziabad. Later on, Taruna Batra tried to return to her old home at B-135, Ashok Vihar, Phase-I, Delhi, but found it locked. She filed a suit seeking mandatory injunction to enable her to enter the house but, before any order could be passed, she forcibly broke into the residence.

In back-and-forth appeals, a central question arose: Should the second floor of this property be considered Taruna Batra’s matrimonial home? The issue reached the Supreme Court, and became a landmark judgment clarifying the legal definition of “shared household.” The Supreme Court determined that in order for a home to be considered a “shared household”, the husband must either own the property, he must pay rent on the property, or the house must belong to a joint family of which the husband is a member. The court therefore ruled that the property in question does not count as a “shared household.”

Full Citation: S.R. Batra and Anr. vs. Smt. Taruna Batra, (2007)3SCC169