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Renuka Chavan vs. Raju Vasant Chavan: Protection of property rights for women affected by AIDS

Date : 16/07/2010

The case resulted in two orders: against the family of Raju Vasant Chavan and officers of the local police force.

The petitioner, Renuka Chavan, had filed an application and petition against her husband, Raju Vasant Chavan, resulting in an order dated 28 June 2007. In follow up, Renuka Chavan filed an affidavit against her in-laws saying that they continued to threaten and harass her with a view to evict her from her matrimonial home. The petitioner’s husband was hospitalised with AIDS and her mother-in-law had been asking and threatening the complainant to leave her room and had even started showing it to prospective buyers.

A.V. Nirgude (Principal Judge, Family Court Mumbai) noted that the activities of Renuka Chavan’s in-laws showed that despite the previous injunction passed against her husband and his family, harassment of the petition had continued. The Principal Judge ruled that this amounted to domestic violence.

In addition, the petitioner made a serious complaint against two officers at her local police station. When Renuka Chavan went to the station to lodge a complaint she was detained overnight without any record being made of her complaint. In response, A.V. Nirgude issued a notice to the named police officers directing them to show just cause as to why action should not be taken against them.

The judge also ruled that the family of Raju Vasant Chavan be restrained from dispossessing or in any manner disturbing the possession of her room. The names of the two officers involved in detaining Renuka Chavan overnight were misspelled on the original order. A.V. Nirgude passed a second order appointing a Court Commissioner to accompany Renuka Chavan to the police station to identify the officers involved. The order also directed the Sr. Police Inspector to give all possible assistance.

This case is an excellent example of how legislation can be implemented to ensure that protection is provided from domestic violence in all its forms. Thanks to the tenacity of HRLN and A.V. Nirgude, orders have been issued to ensure that the rights of Renuka Chavan are upheld in relation to her property and redress through the law.

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