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Ashok (Proprietor)     12 February 2014

Succession rights of gharjamai in mother-in-law's estate

It is a very well admitted fact that I was the living-in-son-in-law (Gharjamai) and living in such status in the mother-in-law's partly owned property for 3 years, immediately after my Hindu marriage dt. 1997.

Admittedly the wife never had any reasonable grounds for filing a false criminal complaint by abuse of Sec. 323, 504 & 498-A of IPC against me in March 2000, which is why taking the suo-moto cognizance of her offence after acquitting me the JMFC Court , Pune, punished her u/s 250(1, 2,3) of Cr. P. C. r'/w Sec. 211 of IPC in August 2002 at the end of the regular trial. 

Almost at the same time as that criminal case, the wife had also filed a false Divorce Case against me in Family Court, where my defence was weak and somehow the fact of her punishment u/s 250(3) of Cr. P.C. and thereby the requirement for her to inform / admit that she was under Probation and hence not sent to jail to suffer the imprisonment of One Month etc. remained to be shown but she got the Decree of Divorce against me u/s 13 (1) (i-a) of HMA - 1955 by such concealment amounting to Fraud and thereby repeatedly committed the Abuse of law afresh, for which she remains to be punished.

Notwithstanding any of these things, the fact remains that despite the divorce, my rights over the estates & properties remain unaffected / undisturbed and she died in 2013, leaving a considerable property behind.

The Divorced Hindu wife never informed me of the mother-in-law's death and falsely representing herself as the ONLY INHERITOR, has taken the custody and possession of all the estates and properties of her dead mother, concealing the fact of my rights, which are at par with a natural son of the dead mother-in-law.

Either the mother-in-law OR the divorced wife had sold a 3 storied building partly owned by the mother-in-law in partnership with her unmarried sister and at least on paper got the full price of Rs. 50 lakhs while the said unmarried aunt of the wife also died in the meantime.

Now, considering that the said unmarried aunt of the wife is survived by 1 brother, 1 sister, one dead brother's family, the said divorced wife must have got at least around Rs. 25 Lakhs + 6 Lakhs = 31 lakhs and some more by way of bank deposits, gold, silver and other movable properties in which I was and am entitled to half the share i.e. about Rs. 16 Lakhs at least.

Now, to recover my share as above, how should I proceed?

By a suit for partition? 

If the mother-in-law had died before the sale of that building and it were the wife who sold it, can I pray for the nullification / voidance / cancellation of the sale of that building and demand the mutation of my aforesaid rights in the Govt. records or should I pray for the recovery in cash or the partition of all the assets including the sale proceeds of that building?

In any case, what will be the court fee involved? (@ 2% of Rs. 31 Lakhs - amounting to Rs. 62,000/- ?) 

Since I can't afford such a huge fee, do not have so much money in the balance by savings, is there any other way whereby I can sue the divorced wife and / or the person who bought that property, withoutpaying such a huge fee which I can ill-afford?

Can I pray simply for the freezing of the wife's assets worth Rs. 31 Lakhs until I can afford to sue her for the partition?

Can I pray for the reversal of the sale as a malafide act? 

Can I file a Criminal Complaint of Fraud committed by the wife in form of the false affidavit given to the purchaser of that property and if yes, also demand the freezing of the wife's assets worth Rs. 31 lakhs until I can sue her for the partition and in such a case, how much Court Free will I have to pay?



 4 Replies

T. Kalaiselvan, Advocate (Advocate)     12 February 2014

first of all you have never stated that if you were a joint owner of the intestate properties, movable or immovable.  Just because you have married and got divorced with the daughter of the deceased woman who died intestate, you do not acquire any right or interest in the estates of the deceased because you are not a legal heir to the deceased.  so do not venture into any such fancy ideas.  what is the meaning of gharjamai?  Is there any law in India to confer a title or right to the property for just being a Gharjamai?  You have enjoyed a easy living after marriage by becoming gharjamai, but this will not give you a status of a legal heir to your deceased mother in law, hence do not be under any such illusion about getting a share in the property acquired by your divorced wife who inherited them as per law as a legal heir and successor to her deceased mother.

Ashok (Proprietor)     12 February 2014

Let me elaborate a little more Sir.

This marriage was a formally arranged one with a prior understanding, which is never put on the paper but a well known tradition and practice in our common community of Hindu Maharashtrian Brahmins, that a widow or a divorced woman having a marriageable daughter and not having a son of her own will marry the daughter off and accept the son-in-law to live on / in her property in the status of a Gharjamai and thereby automatically and perpetually enter into a binding civil contract with the son-in-law and the son confer upon him the legal status at par with a natural son, which she did not have of her own.

I have seen a case law on this point in which the court's opinion went exactly in these same words and there are supporting facts such as the continuous practice of this relationship for a considerable time of 3 years since and after the marriage, which is the basis for the claim of the succession rights at par with the divorced wife, despite the fact of the divorce which is not concerned with the relationship created by the mother-in-law by such overt and covert act, known to the general public.

Moreover, the said wife was the only child / issue of the said mother who too was a divorcee and ran away from her husband's house and never went back to him, obtained the divorce from him by the same type of legal trickery i.e. make patently false and instigative and atrocious allegations of cruelty which she would never prove and use whatever he did in reaction as the new variety of cruelty, post-petition, to base her claim upon.

In this, by the virtue of her holy matrimonial oath taken during the Hindu religious wedding, even the divorced wife entered into a perpetually binding civil contract with me to share and share alike, in all the matters of her body, mind and wealth and although the subsequent fact of the divorce has destroyed the rights over the body i.e. of the company, the decree does not entitle her to forgo / forget / deny the same at any time in her life and hence not only within her life-time but also beyond, not only upon her but also upon all her successors claiming under her, this obligation / undertaking / civil liability is and shall always remain in force.

The same kind of obligation was created / agreed upon by the mother-in-law who is since dead most recently.

Pl. consider that I've privately studied law for 8 years to find out these things from the DMC & ILR / AIR volumes, the case laws established by various high courts and the supreme court, by self-study, although never a formal student of law and never intending to try and become a lawyer etc. and that divorce is a family tradition, cruelty against the spouses by the 2 brothers and one sister of the dead mother-in-law in consortium with the other members of her parental family.

I suppose you have never studied so deeply in these kinds of matters before the above reply.

All these above facts and circumstances have been alleged by me against the divorced wife, her maternal aunt and maternal uncle and the son of the aforesaid maternal aunt,  in the currently ongoing civil suit in which, although having appeared through a lawyer, they have not bothered to reply even after 3 consecutive court dates and hence I intend to and the court is bounden by law to grant all my prayers, considering their silence as the silent admission / approval.

I have also filed a suit for maintenance u/s 24 & 25 of HMA-1955 in Family Court, wherein the same thing will happen i.e. silent approval, since she can't afford to appear and admit that she has lied and obtained lesser punishment than deserved in the Cr. Case, which was filed without any complaint in the evidence and the previous admission that I was illegally arrested and kept in the illegal custody by the police since before the so-called / purported complaint u/s 323, 504 and 498-A of IPC and all that for the "Recovery" of Rs. 2 lakhs which she admittedly had never paid me and never shown any such transaction to the I. Tax authorities etc.

I intend to use the money I get from the aforesaid defamations suit (Rs. 2 Lakhs) for the court fees of Rs. 80,000/- in the new case for the equitable distribution of the dead mother-in-law's estates & properties and am very confident of winning such a claim.

Vibhor Khandelwal (Advocate)     24 December 2015

Ashok can i have the case citation to which you are referring? Mr. T. Kalaiselvan is not incorrect as no law relating to Gharjamai is yet framed in India and this is the subject to which we are still unfare. It is a case of gender injustice where a woman is entitled to get share in the property of her husband but the law is silent on the rights of the man who stays with his in-laws as Gharjamai. Your case is really different, but if there are some customs or usage in your community governing that field then those customs and usage needs to be consideredin your case.

Sandeep Shukla (Teacher)     04 January 2016

The provisions for intestate succession are clearly laid out in the Hindu Succession Act where the different customs in the country has already been accounted for. The directions in that Act concerning heirs are binding for all parts of India as written in the Act, and are thus statutory provisions which cannot be trespassed upon unless changed by Parliament. And nowhere is there any mention about a Gharjamai in this Act for any region of India. You can provide the link for the citations which you are referring to and then only can they be judged for their merit or applicability in this case. 


Regarding gender neutrality issues, that is a different matter fit for a separate post. But if you are agrieved then you can take an active role and try to change the law of the land first. But at this time I do not see any hope for you. So advise you to get back to work and try to make some money on your own. In short try being a real "man" at least for the present. 


And regarding perpetuality of marriage in the eyes of the law, my opinion is that since it is a contract and the law has provisions to terminate this contract then there is no perpetuality in it. However it is true that the benefits regarding this transaction are different for the two genders taking into account the social conditions when the laws where made, and to change them then it has to be done by the lawmakers.


I myself have always supported that there should not be any benefits for divorced wives also besides maintainance (only if they are unemployed), leave alone any beneficiary provisions for divorced husbands. In short the law should support blood relations for benefits and standing on one's own leg for others for as much as is possible.



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