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SC asks family to pay Rs 4 lakh to destitute woman

Coming to the rescue of a destitute woman who has been rendered homeless during the coronavirus outbreak, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the family of a man, whom she claimed to be her husband, to pay her Rs four lakh as compensation.

The order was passed on an application filed by the woman who had approached the top court seeking direction for monetary relief, protection and order for stay at the guest house at the National Agriculture Science Complex (NASC) in Delhi.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant, which heard the case through video conferencing, said some urgent orders are necessary as the woman has been asked to vacate the guest house where she has been residing.

"In the present situation, particularly having regard to the public health crisis, we are of the view that the interest of justice would require the Court to pass a pro tem order, without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the parties. We make it clear that we are not entering into the merits of the rival contentions between the parties which will be heard at a future date. By way of an ad-hoc arrangement, we direct the respondent to pay a lump sum amount of Rs 4 lakhs to the petitioner on or before March 31, 2020," the bench said.

The woman, who argued the matter herself through video conferencing, said the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has issued notice to her to vacate the room of the guest house by March 20.

Advocate Balaji Srinivasan, appearing for the family, alleged that the woman was a habitual litigant and filed frivolous applications for interim relief and lost in all forums.

The woman, in her application, has sought interim relief of Rs 1.30 crore besides direction to stay at the state guest house in Bengaluru and the ICAR guest house.

The woman earlier filed a writ petition before the Karnataka high court seeking to set aside all adverse orders against her Domestic Violence Act case, which was later transferred to the top court.

The woman in her plea has claimed that she had got married to a man who was an award winning horticulturist and they used to live together. The man died in 2017.