Supreme Court has mandated a father to liquidate his six ancestral shops to cover the living expenses of his son’s wife, who was deserted when her husband fled the country.


A panel composed of Justices S Ravindra Bhat (now retired) and Aravind Kumar directed Mohan Gopal, the father of Varun Gopal, to sell the six ancestral shops. The panel stressed that this case revealed persistent non-compliance with court rulings by Varun Gopal and his father, Mohan Gopal, asserting that both parties were accountable for the full maintenance amount.


The panel instructed the Delhi High Court to oversee the sale of the six shops to secure the best possible price. Additionally, they ordered the collection of rents from other properties until the outstanding amount of Rs 1.25 crore was settled. The court specified that the title could be transferred to the woman’s name if she wished, provided that the sale was not finalized within three months.


Beyond the directive to sell the shops, the panel took note of the son’s alleged escape to Australia, subsequent remarriage, and abandonment of his first wife. They also examined various documents, including affidavits and bank statements, which revealed significant money transfers to Varun Gopal over time.


The panel stressed that the court has the power to issue appropriate orders and even decrees to ensure complete justice between the involved parties.


The marriage between the parties occurred in 2012 when the husband was working in Australia. Later, disputes arose, leading to the woman filing criminal cases, while the husband and his parents applied for anticipatory bail. The husband abstained from participating in both criminal and maintenance proceedings. In 2017, Varun obtained a divorce decree from an Australian family court in his absence, after which he remarried and had two children with his second wife.


Previously, the court had ordered the attachment of 11 shops owned by the father-in-law since the husband was the sole inheritor of the properties. The court also ordered the attachment of shops that remained unsold in three consecutive auctions.


The panel dismissed the father’s arguments that he was not responsible for his daughter-in-law’s maintenance since his son was still alive.

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