For 40-year-old single mother Kaushalya from Jodhpur, it was a triumph against all odds.
Separated from her husband and denied a share by her father in his property, the mother of three got relief when the Supreme Court last week told the father to buy her a house where she and her children could live.
A bench headed by Justice AK Sikri ended a six-year-old litigation between Kaushalya and her father who said his daughter had no right over his property because it was self-acquired and not inherited one as she claimed. The man – a retired tehsildar – was keen to give the house to his son.
But in a rare move, the bench refused to delve into the merits of the case or get drawn into legal issues. Looking at the plight of Kaushalya who was ‘sold’ to a man twice his age when she was 16, the bench asked her father to settle the dispute so that the case does not drag for years.
Advocate Aishwarya Bhati who appeared for Kaushalya told HT that the court told the father to make peace with the daughter or else it would grant leave in the case, which meant it would have taken it up in the usual course after four to five years. This pushed the father to opt for mediation where he agreed to purchase a house in the outskirts of Jodhpur where she presently lives.
The order came on Kaushalya’s petition against the Rajasthan high court’s order asking her to vacate the bungalow where she resided with her mother and continued to do so even after the latter’s death.
She claimed that she was married off in 1996 to a 30-year-old man who was already married and had four daughters and from whom her father had allegedly taken money. Her husband left her after she gave birth to three children – a girl and two boys. In 2004 Kaushalya went to live with her mother who had left her matrimonial home to settle in Jodhpur.
The litigation against her father began after Kaushalya’s mother died in 2010. The father was alleged forcing her to vacate the house claiming he had bought it and had no right to stay there. She lost twice the case – first at the trial court and later at the HC.