Q: My niece, who was married in 2002, returned to her parents when she could not bear her husband’s torture. She filed a matrimonial suit two years ago. Neither her husband nor any lawyer attended the last two hearings. How can she get an ex parte divorce decree?
Sudershan Mukherjee, Calcutta
A: Generally, when a defendant or his lawyer does not appear for a hearing and the court is satisfied that the summons was dully served, it may pass a showcause order on the defendant. If the defendant does not take any steps to respond to it, the court may pass an order for an ex parte hearing and subsequently give an ex parte decree, in keeping with the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code.
Q: We are two brothers and one sister. Our mother has made her elder son, who is settled abroad, the nominee in her accounts. Can we claim equal share in her money after her death? If yes, what would the procedure be?
A: A nominee is a mere custodian and not the owner of the assets. He is legally bound to distribute the assets between the legal heirs. Hence, the legal heirs can claim equal shares after your mother’s demise. There is no formal procedure but if your brother refuses to part with the money, the others may send him a legal notice claiming their share.
Q: My father owns a co-operative flat. He bought a larger flat, which is not part of any co-operative society, and we have been residing in it for the past five years. The co-operative flat is lying vacant. My father has not paid the maintenance charges for a long time in spite of repeated reminders from the society. What action can the society take against my father in case he is unable to pay the huge amount that is due? Can they transfer it to someone else?
Suvra Das, Calcutta
A: Section 133 of the West Bengal Co-operative Societies Rules, 2011, provides for the expulsion of a member who defaults on the payment of maintenance charges for more than three months. The society may also, in accordance with its by-laws, impose further penalty clauses on your father. It may also decide to take legal action for the recovery of the dues. Your father may find it difficult to obtain a no-objection certificate from the society if he wants to rent out or sell the flat. Hence, it is advisable that he pays the defaulted amount at the earliest.