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‘Divorce by Singapore court does not negate domestic violence case’

by July 29, 2017 General

New Delhi: A court has held that even if a couple was granted divorce by a Singapore sharia court on a plea filed by the husband, the domestic violence case filed by the wife in India was still maintainable. Therefore, the man, a Singapore citizen, was directed to pay Rs 2.40 lakh as monthly maintenance to his minor children living in India with their mother.

Metropolitan magistrate Preeti Parewa, however, refused to grant any interim maintenance sought by the wife noting that the alimony granted by the Singapore court was sufficient to maintain her status.

In court’s opinion, the husband could not shy away from his obligations to maintain his estranged wife and their minor children, if she was not in a position to maintain herself and the children — when the husband was “gainfully employed”. Deciding in favour of the children, the court observed, “No order in relation to the maintenance of the minor children has been passed by the Singapore court and it is the obligation of the husband to maintain them as the complainant is currently unemployed.”

The wife, through her counsel Prabhjit Jauhar, has filed the complaint alleging that she was subjected to domestic violence while she was residing with her husband and shuttling between Delhi and Singapore. She alleged that she was compelled to leave Singapore on August 28, 2013 after which she filed the present case on May 27, 2014.

Seeking a monthly maintenance of Rs 6 lakh for his client, Jauhar argued that the husband cannot escape “punishment” for the domestic violence meted out to the wife just because divorce had been granted. The wife and minor children were entitled to all relief under the Domestic Violence Act, he asserted.

The husband, on the other hand, stressed that the Singapore court had the competent jurisdiction to decide on the matter and, therefore, the application filed by his wife before the Indian court was infructuous.

To contest their claims on income, both parties filed respective affidavits. The wife claimed she was holding a bachelor’s degree in technology, besides having PG diploma in management, but was unemployed. She said Rs 2 lakh is spent every month on her children and their upkeep, while claiming that her estranged husband earned somewhere around Rs 15 lakh per month. She claimed that his residential property in Singapore was worth Rs 10 crore, besides other properties in Delhi and his ancestral home in Bijnor, UP.

Contesting her claims, the man argued that he was earning less than what she had claimed and had already deposited about Rs 87.57 lakh as alimony in the account of his estranged wife, following the Singapore court order. The wife denied having received the alimony.

The court held whether or not wife had received the said money in her bank account or not was a matter of trial and her claim for maintenance shall be decided at the final stage.