Legal recourse against mental harassment by mother in law
I am a Hindu married in 2014. It was an arranged marriage. I am a working woman, when I got married I was working and am continuing even now. My mother in law was staying with my husband at the time of marriage. After marriage I came to know she is unofficially separated from my father in law due to strained relationship between them. This fact was not disclosed at the time of marriage. I share household expenses and home EMI with my husband as per our understanding. We have no issues on financial front. I also do all household chores single highhandedly. However, my mother-in-law has this constant demand that my husband should not pay any of the household expenses, all bills, her expenses, travelling for family functions and gifts should be paid by me. I told her its personal matter between husband and wife and my salary is limited, then she gets extremely angry and starts yelling. In the past she has asked cash from me also which I had obliged. In the past 2.5 years since our marriage she keeps bad mouthing about my parents constantly as they didn't meet her expectations during marriage function. She has extreme anger issues and takes a violent form when angry. Its emotionally and physically draining for me. She is also not ready to go back and stay with my father in law at any cost. I have snapped all ties with her. My husband is supportive of me and defends me when required. But he can't repeatedly tell her to go back as she is his mother. I and husband cannot shift anywhere as then she will have to remain alone. What should I do? Can i take a legal recourse against the mental torture and constant financial demand? What evidence is needed as most of these have been verbal?
Answered by Sammanika Rawat, Lawfarm researcher:
Thank you so much for writing to us. We are extremely sorry to hear you problem. This is one of the common problems we receive from working women these days. Understanding the complexities of joint families in India, we shall advice you to go for mediation. Although you can take the legal recourse by suing her for dowry demands and cruelty under S. 498A of the Indian Penal Code; it might also affect your husband and shall create more harm to the family as compared to the separate living of both the parties. Rather, if you go for mediation, the mediator (an impartial third party) can help both the parties to come to a mutual settlement based on their demands and requirements. Mediation is a speedy mechanism as compared to the court proceedings. It is moreover based on long-term effects and once both the parties agree to the decision, they can enter into a valid written agreement. Please look for a nearest mediation centre. For further understanding about the concept of mediation, you can look at the Supreme Court guide on Mediation available here.
We hope we were able to answer you well. Feel free to write back. All the best for your future endeavours.
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