Monthly Archives: March 2014

Words “Family” and “Household”

“Household” and “Family” are not synonymous to each other and both the provisions would take its colour, in reference to the context it has been used, keeping in view the object and purpose sought to be achieved. According to Concise Oxford English Dictionary ‘family’ means a group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit; a group of people related by blood or marriage; the children of a person or couple; all descendants of a common ancestor.
Black’s law dictionary defines ‘family’ as (i) A group of persons connected by blood, by affinity or by law especially within two or three generations (ii) A group consisting of parents and their children (iii) A group of persons who live together and have a shared commitment to a domestic relationship.
According to Law Lexicon term ‘family’ may be said to have a well defined, broad and comprehensive meaning in general, it is one of great flexibility and is capable of many different meanings according to the connection in which it is used. Thus, it may be ‘children’, ‘wife and children’, ‘blood relations’ or the ‘members of the domestic circle’. According to the context, it may be of narrow or broad meaning as intention of the parties using the word, or as the intention of law using it, may be made to appear.
In its ordinary and primary sense the word ‘family’ signifies the collective body of persons living in one house or under one head or manager or one domestic Government. What constitutes a family in a given set of circumstances or in a particular society depends upon the habits and ideas of persons constituting that society and the religious and socio-religious customs of the community to which such persons may belong.
According to Law Lexicon ‘family’ may include even domestic servants and sometimes persons who are merely boarders.
On the other hand the term “household” means the collection of individuals who normally eat food prepared in the same kitchen. In Black’s Law Dictionary household has been mentioned belonging to the house and family as well as a family living together or a group of people who dwell under the same roof and in the Law Lexicon it has been described as number of persons dwelling under the same roof and composing a family and by extension all who are under one domestic head.
The term ‘family’ and ‘household’ are capable of wide and varying meaning and same cannot be left to be assigned a meaning in its general terms and the same has to be interpreted in reference to the context it has been used keeping in view the overall object and purpose sought to be achieved. Indrapal Singh v. State of U.P. and Others, (2014) 1 UPLBEC 379 (FB)

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