The Supreme Court noted that the Petitioner’s son had abandoned his wife and fled to Australia while stalling to comply with the Maintenance Order.

The Court disposed of a Petition filed by the Daughter-in-law seeking recovery of arrears of maintenance and monthly maintenance. The Court directed the Registrar to attach properties of the Petitioner’s son to realize the amount from sale in favor of the Wife.

The past history of this case, and the orders of this court have demonstrated the utter obduracy of Varun Gopal, who abandoned the wife, and virtually fled to Australia. The documents placed on record of this court, including the affidavits filed by the petitioner, and the bank account statements, reveal that considerable amounts of money were remitted to Varun Gopal, over a period of time”, the Bench comprising Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Aravind Kumar observed.

Advocate Hargovind Jha appeared for the Applicant (Daughter-in-law), Advocate Mahesh Kumar appeared for the Respondent (Mother-in-law), and Advocate Jaspreet Gogia appeared as Amicus Curiae.

The Petitioner’s son was married to the Second Respondent and within two years of marriage, the relationship deteriorated. The Son of the Petitioner filed anticipatory bail in response to criminal Charges but relief was denied. The Petitioner also sought anticipatory bail but the Court allowed the prayer subject to the Petitioner depositing amount towards arrears of maintenance. The condition was not fulfilled and therefore bail was finally granted after 10 months in custody.

The Daughter-in-law (original complainant and Second Respondent) filed a Miscellaneous Application seeking directions against the Family Court for disposal of a Petition under Section 125(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) within 6 months on the father-in-law and mother-in-law (now deceased) on the ground that she lives with her widowed mother, on whom she is dependent for expenses, including litigation expenses. She sought recovery of both arrears of maintenance and monthly maintenance of 1,27,500.

The Court noted that the Petitioner’s son had abandoned his wife and fled to Australia. The Court observed that considerable amounts of money were remitted to the Petitioner’s son over a period of time.

The Court, therefore, issued the following directions:

(1) Six contiguous shops bearing municipal numbers 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 shall be put to sale by the Registrar of the Delhi High Court, who shall ensure that the best prices are realized. The amounts realized from the sale shall be deposited in a fixed deposit receipt, initially for six months, and its interest, disbursed to the second respondent/applicant. In the event of no sale, the attachment of property shall continue in favour of the applicant.

(2) The attachment of rents of M/s Fitness Factory Gym & Spa on the First Floor shall be continued, till the petitioner, and his son, Varun Gopal, pay the amount constituting the balance between the amount realized by direction (1) and Rs. 1.25 crores.

(3) In the eventuality the directions in (2) are not complied within one year, the Registrar is directed to take steps, and within three months, and seek option from the applicant regarding whether she would wish the transfer of title to the said premises in her name, or its sale. In the event she opts for the transfer, the Registrar Delhi High Court, is directed to take all necessary steps to execute a conveyance deed (under the present directions) to that effect, the sale shall be registered by the concerned authorities, and the applicant shall be handed over symbolic possession.

(4) In the event the applicant does not seek conveyance, the Registrar shall take all necessary steps to auction the said property (on the first floor described in (2) above, within 18 months from today.

(5) All amounts realized in the process of compliance with directions (1) and (4) above shall be paid to the applicant. Decree shall be drawn to the above effect. Decree shall also reflect total amount due and payable to the applicant in lieu of which sale of shops are hereby ordered”.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the Application.

Cause Title: Manmohan Gopal v The State Of Chhattisgarh & Anr (2023 INSC 953)

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