Though it’s common to see women alleging torture by in-laws and demanding share in property from them, of late a new trend has emerged showing a complete role reversal. The women’s cell of the Pune police and lawyers say they have started receiving complaints of harassment and torture from the “tormentors” themselves.
Cases of mothers-in-law complaining against their sons’ wives are increasing with many “aggrieved” women demanding share in the daughter-in-law’s income or property under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
According to Smita Jadhav, inspector in charge of Pune police’s Women’s Grievance Redressal Cell, of the 500-odd domestic violence cases, about 25 have been registered by women against their daughters-in-law. “In one case, a woman claims that her daughter-in-law has transferred all their property in her name and has thrown her out. She is demanding maintenance from the daughter-in-law and right to stay in the house.”
Lawyer Sunita Nandakishor Jangam said she was handling several cases where mothers-in-law were asking for compensation or share in the monthly income of daughters-in-law. In one case, a 50-year-old woman was asking her daughter-in-law, who is separated from her son, to give her 50 per cent share in the property.
In another case, before lawyers RP Kesharkar and Pratibha Gawali, a 66-year-old ex-employee of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), who lost her young son in a road accident in 2012, has complained that her daughter-in-law, who moved into her house with two kids and works as a nurse at a city hospital, tortured her and even refused her food. She claimed that even her children insulted her, before finally throwing her out of the house. She has been demanding maintenance.
What the law says
According to lawyer Rajendra Anbhule, as per the domestic violence Act, a woman can file a case against her mother-in-law but the mother-in-law is not entitled to claim monetary relief from her.
But in the Kusum Lata Sharma case, the Delhi high court has held that even the mother-in-law can also file a case against the wife of her son, provided she is a sufferer of domestic violence.