The Supreme Court today directed businessman Jaidev Shroff, to pay rent for the premises at which his estranged wife Poonam Shroff (Bhagat) wishes to reside. The court ordered that husband is liable to pay rent till the completion of the divorce proceedings.
Poonam Shroff’s petition praying that she be reinstated at her marital home in Mumbai was taken up by the Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices BR Gavai andSurya Kant last week.
Senior Advocates P Chidambaram and Shyam Divan appeared for the petitioner, stating that in light of the ongoing divorce proceedings at a family court in Bandra, Mumbai, Jaidev Shroff had “thrown out” his wife and their 13-year-old daughter from their home at Pali Hill.
Chidambaram also submitted that not taking action against such a ghastly act would be antithetical to the various provisions of special legislations formulated for protection of women. Moreover, he argued that the wife had the “right to a shared household.”
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Denying the claims and quipping them as hogwash, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for respondent Jaidev Shroff. He argued that Poonam Shroff had made this matrimonial battle her “luxury business”. He further submitted,
Poonam Shroff is worth Rs. 1,000 crore and her claim of wanting to share in household with Jai Shroff is without merits. Even more so, after fighting with her husband in court for half a decade.
In an attempt to put quietus to the issue, CJI Bobde directed the CEO of UPL Limited to pay rent of any premise that his wife and daughter may choose to live in. Further, it was directed that he shall continue to pay rent till the divorce proceedings are disposed off.
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CJI Bobde went on to tell the petitioner wife,
Why do you want to live in his house? Go find one you like, he will pay for it.
Background to the Case
Jaidev Shroff is the Executive Director for United Phosphorus Limited (UPL), the 4th largest agrochemical company in the world. He was married to Poonam Bhagat, socialite and art patron for the last decade, until October 2015, when he filed for divorce on grounds of ‘cruelty’ towards him and his two daughters with his first wife Romila.
As quoted by The Quint, Jaidev met Bhagat in 2000, when he was in the midst of divorce proceedings with Romila because of her alleged involvement with a Dubai-based businessman. Shroff and Bhagat, both are residents of Pali Hill since they were children, were married in 2005.
The accusations began when industrialist alleged that his art patron wife was cruel not only to him, but also to his two children from his first wife. Amidst a series of murky allegations ranging from “black magic” to theft, the marital discord between the parties continues.
In April 2016, Shroff filed a First Information (FIR) at the Khar police station alleging that Bhagat performed black magic on him, by poisoning him with a ‘magic potion’ (obtained from a ‘Bengali baba’) in a glass of orange juice she offered to him (Section 328 of the Indian Penal Code). Within two days, the baba was arrested and a confession was on the table.
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Later in the same month, Shroff submitted audio and video proof of Bhagat’s cruelties, including a CD with Bhagat’s conversation with the baba at the first hearing of his FIR in Bandra’s Family Court. He posted an urgent interim plea with the court, asking them to ban Bhagat from entering their posh Pali Hill home.
While Bhagat, filed for an anticipatory bail (ABA) against these charges, she responded with another application filled with her allegations. According to Bhagat, Shroff’s allegations of poisoning him were false. In her ABA application, Bhagat accused Shroff of domestic abuse (27 instances) for eleven years. She also alleged the he started beating her up within six months of their marriage.
Our Take In General:
- Once the couple separates, everything is about the Money
- Without siding with either parties in the above matter, it can be clearly seen that laws are misused to plant and file cases against each other – a woman does so to legally extort maximum money, a man does so to protect himself and his fortune as much as he can
- In this case the CJI was right in questioning the lady why would she want to co-habit with a domestic abuser in his home?
- However, right to property is given by default to every married woman going through divorce, irrespective of whose fault it was or the status and earning capacity of the woman herself
- From the arguments submitted by defendant’s lawyer, the net worth of wife can take care of many generations
- It’s time that our maintenance laws are amended and any allowance that is awarded to either spouse is purely on merit
- CJI has also asked the man to keep paying rent until the divorce petition is dismissed
- This is the most common trap in every case laid for Men, because once the meter of payment starts, a woman could misuse another set of laws and legal tools to keep the divorce case pending indefinitely
- So virtually, interim maintenance is nothing but an asset building exercise to reward fully-abled wives with lifelong tax free income
- And of course, we cannot blame the women because the system allows them to exercise all their rights, which are highly Gender Biased