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LEGAL FAQS

Q: I am 18 years old. Five years ago my father forged my motherís signature and divorced her without her knowledge or consent. We hired a lawyer to get the records of the alleged divorce procedure but it proved futile. My mother, younger sister and I live in a flat registered in my grandfatherís name. At present, our father pays us Rs 18,000 for monthly expenses. Since a court marriage with another woman three years ago, he has been pressurising us to vacate the house and seek the rightful share from the court. Can he come to the house whenever he wants to, torture us mentally, and force us to vacate the house? My mother is a housewife. How can we prove him guilty and make him pay the Rs 18,000 legally?

N.K. Mishra, Calcutta

A: Have you seen the decree of divorce or are you going merely by what your father told you? Divorce on mutual consent cannot be granted in your motherís absence. So, if it has been acquired fraudulently, she can file a complaint against your father with the local police, senior officers including the superintendent of police, and the womenís grievance cell. Conduct a court search again by filing an information slip. If the divorce was acquired by unfair means, your father can be made liable for imprisonment. Your mother can challenge the divorce decree and file for maintenance for herself and her daughter under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code. She could also take the help of legal aid services set up in courts for women and children.

Q: Our building has 25 flats. All the owners except one pay equal monthly maintenance charges. One flat owner wants to pay on a square-foot basis, which is not acceptable since he is enjoying equal common services as the others. Our society is in the process of being registered under the West Bengal Co-operative Society Act. Can we go to the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission or any other court for immediate direction for settlement?

J.K. Das, Konnagar, West Bengal

A: While some building associations or societies adopt equal maintenance fees, others follow variable maintenance rates depending on the area of each apartment or flat. However, it appears that the flat owners in your building have decided to pay the maintenance on an equal basis. So you could send this person a notice along with the minutes of the meeting in which the maintenance charges were decided, asking him to comply with the resolution. If he does not respond, you could file a case before the civil court for recovery of the maintenance charges.