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Madras High Court Ensures Equal Property Rights for Spouses, Regardless of Ownership

Editor Editor
Monday, June 26, 2023
Madras High Court Ensures Equal Property Rights for Spouses, Regardless of Ownership
Homemakers Have Equal Rights to Properties Purchased by Spouses, Rules Madras High Court
MADRAS: In a significant judgment, the Madras High Court has declared that homemakers are entitled to an equal share in properties purchased by their spouses. Justice Krishnan Ramasamy emphasized that even if the property is registered in the name of either the husband or the wife, it should be considered as acquired through their joint efforts and savings.

The court recognized the multifaceted role played by homemakers, highlighting their round-the-clock responsibilities and the diverse skills they employ. Homemakers are not only expected to manage household affairs but also possess culinary, accounting, and economic knowledge. Moreover, they often provide basic medical support to family members, essentially acting as home doctors. Consequently, their contributions hold immense value and cannot be disregarded.

Justice Krishnan Ramasamy emphasized that a husband could not have earned money without the support of his wife in maintaining the family. Hence, the property acquired with their joint efforts should be equally shared, irrespective of the legal ownership. He stressed the concept of a husband and wife being the two wheels of a family cart, working together for the welfare of the family. The judge stated that the beneficial interest in the property belongs to both partners jointly.

The court acknowledged that no legislation has been enacted thus far to recognize the homemakers' contributions. Nevertheless, it affirmed that the judiciary could acknowledge and ensure fair treatment for women, considering their sacrifices and dedication to the family. The ruling aims to prevent homemakers from being left with nothing of their own after dedicating their lives to their husbands and children.

The verdict was delivered in a 2016 second appeal case involving a husband and wife who married in 1965 but later separated. The husband accused his wife of appropriating properties acquired with his earnings, and he alleged her involvement in an extramarital affair. Although the appellant passed away during the proceedings, his children continued the legal battle against their mother. Advocate V. Anusha, representing the wife, argued that the homemaker deserved an equal share in the properties due to her lifelong commitment to the family. The court found merit in this argument and ruled accordingly.

While no specific legislation has been enacted to address the rights of homemakers, this judgment sets a precedent for recognizing their invaluable contributions and ensuring their fair treatment in property matters. The decision underscores the need to acknowledge and appreciate the significant role played by homemakers in maintaining households and supporting their families.