The Supreme Court sent a 74-year-old man to jail for not paying Rs 1.65 crore maintenance to his estranged wife.
The top court, on February 19, had given the final opportunity to Michael Arul to clear Rs 2.6 crore arrears of maintenance, along with monthly maintenance of Rs 1.75 lakh, to his estranged wife. The bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, on Monday noted that on the last hearing, it granted Arul four weeks’ time, yet he had not made the full payment.
The bench observed that the husband has been seeking time to make payment for over two years now. The man, who claimed to have been working on a project of national security in the telecom sector, said that he had no money and had sought two years to pay the amount.
Ishaan George, the counsel appearing for the woman said he has sufficient resources to pay but he is unwilling, though the man insisted that he had no money and sought time to pay.
George said the Supreme Court on Monday had made its position clear that husbands who do not pay maintenance to their wives are liable to face imprisonment.
Arul’s counsel however claimed that his client is old and should not be sent to jail. He insisted before the top court to grant Arul more time to make the full payment.
George said that currently the balance maintenance payable is Rs 1.65 crore and added that the matter has been going on since 2009.
Arul’s counsel argued that his client has a one-fourth share in an ancestral property and he is trying to monetise it to clear the maintenance amount. The top court did not pay heed to these submissions and reiterated that he had several chances in the past, but has still not paid his dues.