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The Supreme Court on 6 December, held that a wife is entitled to receive the prevailing market value of gold if the husband fails to return her gold ornaments.

The bench headed by Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud ascertained that the market value has to be calculated as on the date of repayment and not on the date of the application.

In the present case, a petition for divorce was filed by Santhosh Kumar in the Subordinate Court at Tripura which was allowed ex-parte. However, the wife’s application for the restitution of conjugal rights was dismissed. Subsequently, the appellant wife challenged the dismissal in the Additional District and Sessions Judge for the return of her 51 sovereigns of gold. The appeal was allowed and the Respondent was directed to return the fifty-one sovereigns of gold or to pay the equivalent market value which was evaluated as Rs 4,59,000 on the date of filing of the application.

Further, the Respondent challenged the appellant court’s order in the High Court, which later modified the judgment of the appellate court. Hence, an appeal was filed by the wife in the Supreme Court.

The SC observed that “The main issue which falls for determination in the present appeal is whether the High Court was justified in modifying the order of the appellate court by restricting the value of fifty-one sovereigns of gold at Rs 4,59,000, the value which was quantified on the date of the filing of the application.”

The Court further held that if the appellant cannot have the return of her 51 sovereigns of gold, she is entitled to the refund of the market value of the total fifty-one sovereigns on the date of the repayment, which was determined as Rs 15,25,920 as on 6 December 2019.


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