The Gujarat high court on Wednesday issued an urgent notice to Axis Bank over an appeal filed by a man, who was denied access to a joint account and locker. The matter pertained between an estranged couple, after his estranged wife, amid intense marital disputes, told the bank not to let her husband access the account and locker in her absence.
The marriage had taken place in Vadodara in 1995, but after a couple of years, disputes cropped up. The wife lodged a criminal complaint against her husband and in-laws, but they were later acquitted.
The woman has emigrated to the US and told the courts that she did not intend to return to India. She left the country with her two sons, who she told the court were not fathered by her husband. The family court refused to grant the woman a divorce and, on the contrary, observed that cruelty was inflicted on the husband because of her adulterous life.
Divorce Granted To Husband
Later in 2017, the Gujarat High Court granted the man a divorce on the ground that the wife had deserted him since 2009.
After the high court granted the divorce in 2017, it was recorded in the order that the wife had told the court that she had no interest in the man’s property and had settled in the US.
Access to Joint Bank Locker
Citing the divorce decree, the man approached the bank and requested that they unfreeze the account and give him a duplicate key to the locker. However, in 2019, the bank rejected the man’s request on the grounds that it had not received consent form the joint holder of the account and locker. The bank also said that the man did not have any order from the court for execution of the divorce decree, in which the conditions were laid down.
Husband Re-approaches High Court
The man approached the high court and sought directions to the bank to unfreeze the account and give him a duplicate key and submitted that he would abide by the conditions imposed by the court.
A single-judge bench asked him to approach the concerned civil court for execution of the divorce decree so that he can operate the bank account and locker.
The man filed an appeal before the division bench, which has sought the bank’s reply by November 16.
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