The Bombay high court has granted a reprieve to an estranged husband who had been staying in a hotel for the past six years despite owning a two-bedroom flat in Bandra.
A division bench of justices VM Kanade and FM Reis recently allowed the man to use one of the bedrooms and common passages in his flat. “The applicant is entitled to stay in his house purchased before his marriage to the respondent [wife]. The applicant has a legal right to stay in his own house,” the bench said, while directing the man’s former wife to hand over duplicate keys to him.
In July 2007, the man left the house because of marital discord. The next year, he approached the family court in Bandra for a divorce. His wife responded by filing a counter claim and a plea for orders restraining him from entering the flat, selling it or creating any third party interest in it.
In April 2011, principal judge of the family court rejected the husband’s divorce petition and restrained him from entering the house. He was also directed to pay a maintenance of Rs20,000 per month to his wife.
The husband challenged both orders before the high court. His counsel Smita Gaidhani argued that no maintenance, under provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, could be granted to the wife as the husband’s divorce petition was dismissed. The high court accepted the contention and stayed the order. It, however, clarified that the woman may seek maintenance under provisions of Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, or the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.