Summary of Recent judgment

Case: Manmohan Gopal Vs. The State Of Chattisgarh & ANR



Date of Order / Judgment: 20th October, 2023.

The Matter Heard by Bench: Justice S. Ravindra v. Justice Bhat Aravind Kumar

Background:

This case revolves around the marriage of the Petitioner’s son, Varun Gopal and R2. The marriage took place sometime in the year 2012-13. At the time of marriage Varun Gopal was employed in Australia. Within two years of marriage, the matrimonial relationship deteriorated leading to various legal proceedings. R2 pressed criminal charges against Varun Gopal. In response to the criminal charges pressed by R2, Varun Gopal filed anticipatory bail application, but relief was denied to him. Since then Varun Gopal has not participated in the criminal proceedings or in the maintenance proceedings. The present petitioners also sought anticipatory bail to which orders were passed by this Court directing them to deposit Rs.40 lakhs towards arrears of maintenance. The money having been not deposited, the anticipatory bail was not granted and they were arrested. After 10 months in custody, the court by order dated 12.07.2019 directed their release on bail.

R2 not only filed criminal charges but also a maintenance claim against Varun Gopal in the Bilaspur Family Court. The Trial Court granted interim maintenance in the sum of1 lakh per month by order dated 9.11.2016. The interim maintenance order passed by the court was ex- parte order and the husband filed a criminal revision petition to have the interim order set aside. The revision petition was dismissed by the court. Meanwhile, R-2 filed a criminal revision petition to request an increase, which was granted by an order dated 7.4.2021, raising the amount to 1,27,500.

The applicant also contended that Mr. Varun Gopal is going to inherit 11 shops in ancestral property, which the Petitioner i.e. his father got. Interestingly, Varun Gopal had already been granted ex-parte divorce decree from an Australian Court in December, 2017. On November 8, 2021, R2 filed a suit in the Bilaspur family court seeking the cancellation of their divorce. The suit is currently pending. In the meantime, the husband remarried and currently has two children from the second marriage.

Observation

The Supreme Court while deciding the case relied upon the previous judgments of the court, reported as Subrata Roy Sahara, Skipper Construction, etc. have held that the court is not powerless, but can issue appropriate directions, and even decrees, for doing complete justice between the parties.


Decision

The Supreme Court exercising its inherent powers under Article 142, and looking at the defiant behavior of the husband towards payment of maintenance. Thus, the Supreme Court has directed sale of ancestral property of the husband to pay arrears of maintenance of Rs. 1.25 crores to his wife.