If a wife receives property in the form of a gift from her husband, then the husband is bound to pay all the equated monthly instalments (EMIs) for the loan, ruled the Bombay High Court recently. The HC further said that the wife is entitled to enjoy the property, free from all encumbrances.

A single-judge bench of Justice Nitin Sambre pronounced the ruling while dismissing a plea filed by Inderjeet Singh Dhillon (changed name) challenging the arrest warrant issued against him by a Family Court for failing to pay arrears of maintenance to his wife and two children, worth over Rs. 40 lakh.

Dhillon and his wife Harleen (changed name) had parted ways in May 2015 and they had filed for a mutual divorce which was allowed by the Family Court in 2017. As per the consent terms, Dhillon had handed over three properties at Santacruz, Vasai and Khar, to his wife by a gift deed. Apart from this, he had also agreed to pay Rs. seven lakhs monthly maintenance, which was to be divided equally between the wife and the children.

Despite the orders, Dhillon did not make the payments and the maintenances arrears went up to Rs. 40 lakhs after which Harleen moved the Family Court highlighting her former husband’s conduct. The court accordingly, issued an arrest warrant against him.

Apprehending that he may be arrested any time, Dhillon moved the bench of Justice Sambre challenging the warrant. He argued that since he had been paying Rs. four lakhs monthly EMI of his Vasai property, the same amount must be adjusted against the monthly maintenance amount of Rs. seven lakhs.

The contention was vehemently opposed by Harleen, whose arguments were considered by Justice Sambre in his detailed order. The court noted that if Dhillon’s contention of adjusting the EMI payment against the monthly maintenance is accepted then the wife would be left with around Rs. two lakhs, which will be really difficult for her to maintain herself and children.

“Rather, it is Dhillon’s duty to regularly pay EMI, as it is his bounden duty to give said property to Harleen and children, free from all encumbrances so that they can enjoy the property. As such, his claim that the amount of EMI should have been adjusted as against the amount of maintenance is liable to be rejected,” Justice Sambre ruled.

The court further noted that Dhillon was very well off and financially sound.

“Dhillon appears to be intentionally causing hardship to Harleen and his children and making them approach this court even for the execution of money decree in the form of maintenance. His insensitivity to honour money decree can be inferred from his conduct,” Justice Sambre noted.

“Thus, considering his conduct, it will be appropriate in my opinion to saddle cost of Rs. 25,000 to be deposited in the Family Court within 4 weeks and the wife is entitled to withdraw,” Justice Sambre said while upholding the arrest warrant.

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