The Supreme Court Wednesday asked Poonam Jaidev Shroff, socialite estranged wife of industrialist Jaidev Shroff, to search for a house of her “choice” in Mumbai in a week’s time or it will direct the Bombay High Court registry to do the needful which will be binding on her.
The top court, which had earlier asked her to locate a premises of her choice as her husband agreed to pay the rent till final disposal of their divorce plea by a family court at Bandra, got irked when told that so far no suitable premises has been found for her stay.
“Do you want a house or not? You look for a house and come back next week. There are all kind of people living in Mumbai and for all kind of people, there there are houses,” a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said.
“We will treat it as lack of bona fide on your part if you do not get a house. You select a house, he (her estranged husband) will pay the rent… Otherwise, we will ask the Registrar General of Bombay HC to select an architect who will find a house for you and you will have to be satisfied with that,” said the bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing the woman in the high-profile matrimonial dispute, said instead of she being asked to look for a house on rent, the offer be monetised and she be paid Rs 25 lakh per month on account of rent, besides Rs 75 lakh annually for other expenses.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi, representing the husband, opposed the plea and reiterated his offer that he would pay the rent.
The bench has now fixed the matter for hearing on March 6 and made clear that it would not hear parties at length.
The bench had earlier ordered that “Poonam Jaidev Shroff will locate rented premises of her choice which shall be equivalent to the residence…Pali Hill, Bandra… for her residence…
“A M Singhvi, counsel appearing for appellant Jaidev Rajnikant Shroff, states that the appellant will pay the rent for the said premises. It is understood that this arrangement will at the moment continue till the disposal of the pending divorce petition.”
The counsel for the woman had then sought time till today to intimate the bench about her views on the offer.
Prior to this, the Bombay High court had permitted the woman to enter their “shared household”, a bungalow at tony Pali Hill in Bandra.
Singhvi had said that Shroff, the husband, had lodged an FIR against his wife for allegedly trying to administer drugs through orange juice with the help of a ‘Bengali Baba’ and even the charge sheet has been filed in that case.
The other side vehemently denied the allegations.
Singhvi had said he had offered Rs 90 crore towards full and final settlement of the divorce dispute, but it was not agreed upon.