Saturday, August 11, 2012

Woman fights court for maintenance Procedural error by trial court results in long wait for divorce applicant

Woman fights court for maintenance
Procedural error by trial court results in long wait for divorce applicant

For Ritu Singh (name changed), life became a rollercoaster ride after getting divorce from her husband. She had to fight a long battle to get the maintenance money her husband had deposited in a court.
A procedural error by the trial court judge and his staff resulted in endless round of litigation and wait for almost a year for Ritu.
Coming to her rescue, the Delhi high court not only ordered the trial court to grant her maintenance of over Rs 1 crore, but also slapped a fine on the trial court which will be given to her.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher held the additional district judge (ADJ) guilty of not fulfilling his duties and showing insensitivity towards the woes of the litigant and said, “The concerned judicial officer as well as the court staff working with him were derelict in discharging their respective duties.”
The court’s direction came on a contempt petition filed by Ritu seeking her maintenance amount which was deposited in the court treasury despite her fulfilling necessary directions and procedures.
Ritu’s woes started in 2009 when she decided to end her marriage and move out of her husband’s house along with two minor children. She claimed 50% share in the shared property.
The property was sold for Rs2.25 crore and as directed by the court, Ritu’s husband deposited the money in the court. But the court kept the entire money with it and did not release it to her.
Ritu then moved the court seeking her maintenance amount, for which the order was issued. However, the money deposited was not released to her. She was informed that the money could not be released due to some administrative entanglement.
Ritu finally filed a contempt petition in the high court.
“The real value of money, having regard to the state of the economy, is depreciating each day. Therefore, the only manner in which this wrong can be reversed is by granting interest to the petitioner,” the court ruled while directing the state to compensate her with six per cent interest on the amount deposited in her name to be paid in four weeks.

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