New Delhi: An estranged wife has a right to stay in her husband`s house and is entitled to maintenance from him under the Domestic Violence Act even if the
estrangement had occurred prior to the enactment of the law, the Supreme Court has ruled.
A bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and J Chelameshwar passed the ruling while dealing with a matrimonial dispute of a couple who are senior citizens of the capital.
The apex court concurred with the findings of the Delhi High Court that provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, (PWD) can be invoked by a woman or other victims even if the alleged violence was perpetrated
prior to the enactment.
"In our view, the Delhi High Court has also rightly held that even if a wife, who had shared a household in the past, but was no longer doing so when the Act came into force, would still be entitled to the protection of the PWD Act, 2005," Justice Kabir writing the order said.
VD Bhanot and Savita Bhanot, who were married on August 23, 1980, chose to live separately from July 2005 due to certain differences.
The apex court further said that the husband shall provide a suitable portion of his residence to the wife for his living together with all necessary amenities to make her stay habitable.
"The said portion of the premises will be properly furnished according to the choice of the respondent to enable her live in dignity in the shared household."
On November 29, 2006, Savita filed a petition filed a petition before the magistrate under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.