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samuel (data entry operator)     03 September 2023

Looking after mother-in-law

My mother-in-law, lives separated from her husband in her brpther's house which used to be their family house given to her brother by will. Her brother is now no more.  After her brother died her sister-in-law used to send Rs5000/- for paying a servant lady who looks after her. She also has given her income from her husband's properties to meet her day-to-day expenses. She has 2 sisters one of them gives money occassionally and the other never gives anything though she is rich. My wife also often visit her and give money occassionally. Now after many years living in my family house, I am building a house and it is about to be completed. Her sister-in-law has not sent money for the servant this month. Her sister is telling she won't give money and tells the mother of sister-in-law is sick so she also will not send money or allow her to live in her house. My mother-in-law is sick and cannot cook for herself. She has no income or house. Now, they say they will drop her in my house and I am the one who must look after her. They say they will give complaint in police station and make me bring my mother-in-law to my house. I have no job, living by selling my ancestral property. What should I do. I have one daughter studying in 7th std. It is like they gave my wife in marriage only to look after her mother. What can I do. Can I refuse to accept her in my house. Can I ask her sisters to share her expenses. It is too much burden for me. I will have to sell ancestral properties if she is forced into my house. Please tell me what I can do in this situation.


 10 Replies

Sudhir Kumar, Advocate (Advocate)     03 September 2023

criminal case can be filed against son-in-law and daughter (not her sister) of the Sr Citien if they do refuse to maintain her. 


Apprent from facts given by you that you and your wife hasve so far been able to shun their legal responsibility.

P. Venu (Advocate)     03 September 2023

The facts posted suggest that your wife is the only child. As such, it is her duty to look after her mother.

samuel (data entry operator)     05 September 2023

Does my mother-in-law has the right to insist living in my house. Is there any provision for me to refuse her entry to my house. Does she have the right to get admitted in a hospital of her choice and demand me to pay the bill. She signed and gave the ancestral house where she lives now to her brother and now wants to exercise right over my ancestral property and house  what are my options, please tell. I am paying a share. Her  brother was well- off and share the money. She did not do anything to save for her old-age time. Now I am blamed for this 

Sudhir Kumar, Advocate (Advocate)     05 September 2023

was transfer of the house to brother conditional.


does not matter who she gave the house,  you and your wife are liable to maintain her.

samuel (data entry operator)     05 September 2023

Before going to write the settlement, I objected and said, I cannot provide her accomodation in my house and told she should not sign it. They said it is their family matter and I should not interfere. But he said he will allow her to live in that house till her death. But I don't think this was put in writting in the settlement document. Can I send her to some old-age home instead of accepting her in my house. If I allow her step into my house, I know it will be against the will of my parents who gave the house to me and break their heart. I should atleast send her to live alone in a rented house to avoid getting tortured by her. Is it allowed by law. 

Dr. MPS RAMANI Ph.D.[Tech.] (Scientist/Engineer)     07 September 2023

The story is like this. Your mother-in-law is separated from her husband. You have not stated whether her husband is still alive and if alive what is his financial position.   Was your mother-in-law divorced from her husband under court order? Was she or is she getting many maintenance from her husband? Her brother got the family house under a will written by their father. Was the house exclusively given to her brother under the will and was nothing bequeathed to your mother-in-law. From what you write it appears that her brother was looking after your mother-in-law eventhough he was not legally bound to do so. After the brother's death wife of the brother used to give her Rs.5000/- per month. It was also only charity. The money that she gave her husband's (late brother's) property was also only charity. She has 2 sisters. Who has 2 sisters, your mother-in-law or her sister-law.? Whatever money that they gave was only charity. They are not bound to give. Your wife occasionaly gave her money. That is to be appreciated. But that is not charity. "Now they say that they will drop her in your wife."  From whatever you have narrated there is no one other than your wife and yourself who are legally bound to look after your mother-in-law. Has you wife got brothers or sisters? If so they are also legally bound. 

Later you are saying that she signed away her right over ancestral property in favour of her brother. If so that was the reason your sister-in-law was so far giving her money and all my statements regarding charity have to be reversed. You will have state this in the court. But that will be a long drawn affair and your mother-in-law will die a pitiable death before the case is concluded. Are your parents living with you. If so it will be a delicate problem for sambdis to live together in the same house. Otherwise they cannot object. You can leave her in an old age home. But you will have to bear the expenses. If the case goes to court you will not get a decision in good time. You must talk to the concerned relatives preferably along with a well-wisher mediator and arrive at a decision. What does your wife say?

Shashi Dhara   08 September 2023

 if Your father in law is alive  file maintenance suit against him.

samuel (data entry operator)     10 September 2023

My mothee-in-law has 2 sisters and 1 brother. My wife is her only daughter. She left her husband within a month after her marriage. That house in which she lives now is her ancestral house given to her father. Her father gave it to her brother. I am not sure whether my mother-in-law signed the document or not. Her brother demolished the old house and built a new house. He was working and staying in another big city where he has 3,4 houses. Her brother was given most of her father's property, they gave me money just enough for marriage expense and nothing else. Yet those who are enjoying her father's property are not required to give her anything. Only I have to pay from my ancestral property. I did not write a different narrative. I wanted to know whether my mother in law has the right to force herself into the same house where I live now given to me by my parents. What I have narrated under both question are true. Her brother and sister-in-law were kind enough to spend for her. Her brother used to pay her medical bill also, Now her sister-in-law sends only Rs.5000/- per month. It is not a big amount for her. Without reason she wants to stop that also. It is difficult for me to spend that much of money and pay for medical bill, because unlike them I don't have proper job. I just wanted to know how to face in case she sues me for money. There is every reason to believe they may sue me for money.

Dr. MPS RAMANI Ph.D.[Tech.] (Scientist/Engineer)     11 September 2023

Laws are intended to give justice. But justice differs from case to case and the law which gives justice in one case may not give justice in another case. Lower courts see only the law and give orders. High Court and Supreme Court sometimes examine where justice lies and whether the existing law can be intrepreted to give justice and if found possible give judgment accordingly. But that judgment becomes case law and it may not give justice in another case.

Your mother-in-law left her husband within a month after her marriage. What you have not said is that at that time she was pregnant with your wife in her womb. What was the reason that she left her husband?  Did she seek any compensation from her husband? Even if your mother-in-law was at fault under the law she would be entitled for compensation. Your father-in-law would have been responsible for the maintenance of his daughter, who later became your wife. His not giving any compensation was the first injustice done to your mother-in-law and your wife who was a child then.

Your mother-in-law has 2 sisters and 1 brother. Still the father of your mother-in-law gave his entire property to his son. Under the succession law your mother-in-law, her 2 sisters and the brother had equal rights on the property. Still he thought that he should give his entire property to his son only. He did not think about his one daughter separated from her husband  In the absence of other facts any, which you have not disclosed it was the second injustice done to your mother-in-law. However brother of your mother-in-law and after his death his wife (sister-in-law of your mother-in-law) looked after your mother-in-law for some years. It may be as a consideration that the father of mother-in-law did not give any share in the property to his separated daughter. Whether looking after her so far was sufficient consideration is a debatable issue.

There are three persons who could be responsible to look after your mother-in-law. They are:

1. Your father-in-law, if he is alive. 2. Sister-in-law of your mother-in-law and 3. Your wife.

It is not known whether your father-in-law is alive. Anyway as it was long ago, the law of limitation may apply. But if he is alive you can sue him.

Only a court of law can decide the responsibility of the sister-in-law of your mother-in-law. As I stated earlier it can be decided through arbitration also.

By direct application of law your wife is responsible. Where is she? Why is she not speaking? Probably she is only a housewife and she has no income of her own. Or are you so overbearing as all males are and she is silenced?

In any case this forum is not a court of law. It can only gove opinion which is not binding on anybody.

If the other party sues you for money you have no alternative but to engage a lawyer and fight in the court of law. That may cost you even more. Try for arbitration

Sudhir Kumar, Advocate (Advocate)     11 September 2023

already discussed at




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