Assets left behind by deceased husband are liable to be proceeded against for satisfaction of decree for maintenance

chhattisgarh_high_court

High Court of Chhattisgarh : Deciding the question that arose for consideration of the the Court as to whether the assets left behind by the deceased husband are liable to be proceeded against for satisfaction of the decree for maintenance, the Bench comprising of Prashant Kumar Mishra and Anil Kumar Shukla, JJ., held that the assets left behind by the husband are liable to be proceeded against, even though in the hands of his legal heirs for satisfaction of the decree for maintenance.

The Court was considering the appeal against the order passed by Family Court, Raipur, where legal heirs/appellants of the deceased were directed to pay maintenance to the divorced wife/widow/respondent as she was not able to claim permanent alimony on account of untimely death of her husband. The widow further submitted that she is entitled to all properties left by the deceased including the immovable properties and the amount under various insurance policies in the name of the deceased husband and further contended that the Family Court has erred in passing the direction as it should have directed for recovery of the amount from the assets belonging to the deceased, which are presently in possession of the appellants.

The Court while relying on the landmark decision in  Aruna Basu Mullick v. Dorothea Mitra, AIR 1983 SC 916, observed that a decree for alimony passed does not extinguish with the death of the husband rather the assets left behind by him are liable to be proceeded against in the hands of his legal heirs for satisfaction of the decree for maintenance simply because as no other decree even though charged on the husband’s property would not get so extinguished therefore the same applies to the decree for maintenance.

The Court remitting back the matter to the Family Court/executing court observed that the proper course for the executing court should have been to direct the parties to provide full particulars of all the movable and immovable properties belonging to the husband/deceased so that the amount of permanent alimony, which is a charge on the estate of the husband/deceased, is recovered from those properties because the appellants may not be personally liable to pay permanent alimony to the respondent, but they are liable because they are in possession of the assets of the deceased. [Arial I. Kumar v. Shrimati Shikha Kumar, 2016 SCC OnLine Chh 1458, decided on 7.11.2016]

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