Here is the judgment: SC-Maintenance Cannot Be Claimed By DIL – 2008
Parents-in-law can’t be forced to maintain daughter-in-law:
The Supreme Court has ruled that a woman, if neglected by her husband, cannot eye her mother-in-law’s property for getting maintenance. Maintenance of a married woman is her husband’s personal obligation and the property in her mother-in-law’s name can never be the subject matter of the obligation to maintain a daughter-in-law even after the death of her husband, said a Bench comprising Justices S B Sinha and V S Sirpurkar. A woman lawyer, who had filed several cases against her parents-in-law in Chincholi, Karnataka, had even taken recourse to litigation to see that their property was auctioned for getting the maintenance she was entitled to from their son. Disapproving the extra-legal arguments taken by her and deprecating the trial court and the Karnataka High Court overstretching the law as well as their jurisdiction to go by her pleadings, the Bench said a woman could seek attachment of properties only if her husband had a share in it. This means, if the parents-inlaw’s properties were self-acquired and not inherited, then their daughter-in-law could institute suits seeking attachment of those properties which stood in the name of her husband and not against those owned by his parents. Referring to the plea of the daughter-in-law, Sonalben, the Bench said she might be entitled to maintenance from her husband and the decree in her suit could only be against his properties. “The decree, if any, must be executed against her husband and only his properties could be attached for that but not of her mother-in-law,” said Justice Sinha, writing the judgment for theBench. Referring to the HC order, which was challenged by mother-in-law Vimlaben, the apex court said it suffered from “total non-application of mind” and was “wholly unsustainable”.”
The said orders might have been passed only on consideration that Sonalben is a harassed lady, but the fact that Vimlaben is also a much harassed lady was lost sight of (by the HC),” the Bench said. Directing release of the attached properties to Vimlaben, the court directed Sonalben to give Rs 50,000 to her mother-in-law as cost of litigation.