KOCHI: The Family Court’s directive asking women to pay maintenance to their husbands in divorce cases will encourage the latter to remain idle, the Kerala High Court has held.
The court issued the order while allowing the petition filed by V M Nivya of Kasargod challenging the order of the Family Court, Kasargod. The court had directed the petitioner to pay Rs 6,000 per month as maintenance cost till the divorce case is disposed of.
When Nivya filed a petition seeking dissolution of her marriage on the grounds of cruelty, the husband approached the court seeking to dismiss the case.
Meanwhile, Nivya’s husband, Sivaprasad lodged a petition seeking maintenance. According to him, at the time of marriage, he was working in a financial institution. When reports claiming he had abducted the petitioner and committed rape emerged, he was sacked.
Sivaprasad submitted his wife is working as an assistant professor of Biology with a monthly salary of Rs 50,000. So he sought Rs 15,000 as monthly maintenance and the family court directed the wife to pay Rs 6,000 as maintenance.
Counsel for the petitioner submitted Sivaprasad is a well-qualified person, deriving income from musical programmes. There is nothing on the record to show he has been permanently incapacitated, rendering him unable to work. The family court has not considered the scope and circumstances for providing maintenance to the husband by the wife in the right perspective. Due to some irreconcilable differences with her husband, the relationship became strained, she submitted.
The court said a petition can be filed by either the wife or the husband without any employment and source of income, seeking maintenance and litigation expenses from the other spouse under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act.
He had admitted he conducted musical programmes, but was not doing so any longer. He had not presented any witness to substantiate this fact. Neither did he submit a medical certificate to prove he is incapacitated. These aspects were not considered by the Family Court before reaching the conclusion he was entitled to maintenance.
Moreover,Sivaprasad did not submit any evidence to prove he had indeed tried to find employment despite his stated condition. “If such an attitude has been taken by the Courts, it will encourage the husbands to remain idle and they will be tempted not to do any work and depend on the wife for their livelihood,” the court observed.
Section 24 of the Act was intended to support only those spouses who were really incapable of maintaining themselves to get something for their sustenance and to conduct the litigation. Hence, the order directing the wife to pay maintenance of Rs 6,000 is unsustainable in law, the HC held.