The Bombay high court (HC) in its latest judgement on maintenance, has restrained a Mumbai-based businessman and his parents from creating any third party rights in the movable or immovable properties held by them either independently or jointly, after he had failed to clear his pending dues of interim maintenance to his estranged wife and minor daughter.
On Friday, a two-member division bench, comprising Justices Prasanna Varale and Milind Jadhav, directed the owner of an elevator-manufacturing firm to submit an inventory of all the movable and immovable properties belonging to him and his parents.
On June 30, 2018, an order was passed by a metropolitan magistrate court in Mumbai directing the businessman to pay monthly interim maintenance of Rs 75,000 and Rs 1.5 lakh to his minor daughter and the estranged wife, respectively. The order was passed by the magistrate on a complaint lodged by the petitioner wife invoking provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (DV) Act, 2005.
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Husband had failed to comply with this order due to which the present application was moved in the High Court. In the petition, filed through Advocate DP Singh, the petitioner had complained that her husband had not complied with the magisterial order, and as of June 2020, he had not paid arrears of over Rs 44 lakh.
Advocate Amogh Singh, the petitioner’s counsel, pointed out that on June 9 another division bench had also directed the Andheri-based businessman to clear the arrears by the next date, but he has not complied with the HC order.
The businessman in his defence responded to the petition and cited that he had paid Rs 15 lakh to his wife so far. However, he expressed his inability to pay the balance amount on account of partial closure of business because of coronavirus disease (Covid-19)-induced lockdown restrictions.
The husband offered to deposit Rs 5 lakh in his estranged wife’s bank account within a week, however, the offer failed to impress upon the bench.
The court took note of the reference made by the petitioner wife to certain movable and immovable properties held by her husband and his parents in her application under provisions of the DV Act and issued the restraining order.
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The HC has also observed that the non-compliance on part of the businessman may amount to a wilful breach of its order, inviting action for contempt of the court, and has kept the issue pending for future consideration.
The court will hear the case next after two weeks.
- There is no clarity whether the charges of domestic violence were proven
- Often the maintenance is awarded to wives before the matter is concluded and once the monthly amount is fixed, most wives drag the main petition endlessly
- Also, there is no timeline for ending this maintenance amount, despite the couple having separated over two years
- Thus, if a wife chooses not to divorce the man, she continues to enjoy life long tax free income from her estranged husband
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