Bombay High Court Dismisses 498A Case After 22 Years: Houston-based Businessman Pays ₹5 Crore as Alimony

Introduction

In a significant legal development, the Bombay High Court recently dismissed a long-standing 498A (matrimonial cruelty) case that was filed against a Houston-based businessman at the Navghar police station in Mulund. The court’s decision came after the 44-year-old businessman reached an amicable settlement with his estranged wife, wherein he agreed to pay ₹5 crore as permanent alimony. Let’s delve into the details of this case and examine the implications of the court’s ruling.

Background of the Case

The businessman had sought the quashing of the First Information Report (FIR) registered in 2001 based on a complaint lodged by his estranged wife. The FIR had accused the businessman, along with his family members and close relatives, of subjecting his wife to cruelty, criminal breach of trust, outraging her modesty, and other related charges. Subsequently, a look-out circular and a Red Corner Notice were issued against the businessman, who was residing in the United States.

Settlement and Resolution

During the pendency of his petition, the businessman and his estranged wife, who is a lawyer by profession, decided to resolve their disputes amicably. Both parties filed consent terms before the court, outlining their mutually agreed-upon terms. As part of the settlement, the husband agreed to pay a substantial amount of ₹5 crore as maintenance and expenses, while the wife agreed to quash the criminal case. Additionally, she withdrew a miscellaneous petition filed before the family court.

Court’s Observations and Ruling

The division bench of Justice Revati Mohite Dere and Justice Gauri Godse carefully examined the consent minutes filed by the parties. In their observations, the bench acknowledged the amicable settlement and the parties’ intent to put an end to all disputes. Consequently, the court quashed the FIR registered 22 years ago, providing closure to this protracted legal battle. The woman was also permitted to withdraw the deposited amount of ₹5 crore, along with accrued interest, from the high court registry.

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