NEW DELHI: Twelve years after being thrown out of the house by his wife for being in a live-in relationship with a student, Patna University professor Matuk Nath Choudhary, known as Bihar’s ‘love guru’, settled the dispute on Tuesday by assuring the Supreme Court that he would pay one-third of his salary or pension to her for the rest of his life.
Choudhary had hit the headlines in 2006 when his wife, accompanied by TV journalists, raided the house he was sharing with his former student and caught them red-handed. He later publicly accepted the affair and declared his love for Julie Kumari, a pass-out of Jawaharlal Nehru University. Choudhary’s face was blackened by some people, including his relatives.
After the incident, Choudhary’s wife had thrown him out of his house. The wife, a practising lawyer, also lodged a case under the Domestic Violence Act and sought maintenance from him. The estranged couple has a son who is living in Sweden.
The lower court had in 2014 directed Choudhary, a professor of Hindi in B N College, Patna, to pay maintenance of Rs 25,000 per month to his wife.
The court had also directed him to pay Rs 18.5 lakh as arrears for maintenance from 2007 when the wife had filed the case. He then approached the Patna high court which dismissed his plea and upheld the trial court order. The professor finally approached the Supreme Court.
He contended that his salary in 2007 was only Rs 35,000 and the amount of maintenance awarded by the lower court was too high. The professor said he was paying Rs 50,000 per month EMI for a home-loan which he had taken after being thrown out of his house.
Advocates Durga Dutt and Karunakar Mahalik, appearing for the wife, told a bench headed by Justice Kurian Joseph that there was no infirmity in the order of the trial court and HC.
They also pointed out that the current salary of the professor is Rs 1.8 lakh and Rs 25,000 as maintenance is reasonable. The court, after hearing both sides, asked the parties to explore ways to amicably settle the dispute.
Complying with the SC’s suggestions, Choudhary and his wife held discussions in the SC premises in the presence of their advocates and reached a settlement.
As per the memorandum of settlement filed in the court, Choudhary agreed to pay one-third of his salary/ pension to his wife and pay the arrears of maintenance by December.
Both the parties have also agreed to withdraw cases filed against each other and the court made it clear that no further financial claim should be made by either of the parties.