NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court told a man on Tuesday that he can divorce his wife but cannot divorce his children and directed him to pay Rs 4 crore in settlement within six weeks.
The top court also exercised its plenary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution and granted divorce by mutual consent to the couple, staying separately since 2019.
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said that all other conditions of settlements, reached between the estranged couple will be followed as per the agreement.
During the hearing, counsel appearing for the husband said that in the mediation proceedings, a settlement has been reached between both the parties but he needed some more time to pay Rs 4 crore amount to her, as due to the pandemic his business has enormously suffered.
"You yourself have agreed in the settlement that the day decree of divorce will be granted, you will be paying her Rs 4 crore. Now this financial constraint argument will not hold good."
"You can divorce your wife but you cannot divorce your children as you have given birth to them. You have to take care of them. You will have to pay her the amount to maintain herself and the minor children," the bench said.
It directed the husband to pay Rs 1 crore by September 1, 2021 and another Rs 3 crore by September 30, 2021.
The top court also quashed the cases and legal proceedings initiated by the couple against each other and the in-laws.
The Counsel for husband claimed that after the agreement was reached between them, his business has taken a turn around and is facing insolvency proceedings.
"I am not saying I will not pay but give me some time to pay the amount. I will pay one crore in one month and thereafter I will pay another one crore after three months," he said.
The bench said the agreement was reached between the parties in August 2019 and had it not been the onset of pandemic, the husband would have paid the entire agreed amount in 2019 itself.
The bench noted that as per the agreement, the husband, who is in the gems and jewellery business in Mumbai, paid Rs 1 crore on the day the settlement was reached and he had to pay Rs 4 crore on the day he would have got the decree of divorce.
It noted that the estranged couple had two children -- a boy and a girl -- and their custody terms have been agreed by both the parents.