Can’t reduce maintenance costs as wife stays in village: Karnataka High Court to businessman

“Merely because wife happens to be living in a village does not mean that she is not entitled to a reasonable amount of `25,000 as interim maintenance per month.

Published: 09th April 2018 04:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th April 2018 04:58 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU:“Merely because wife happens to be living in a village does not mean that she is not entitled to a reasonable amount of Rs 25,000 as interim maintenance per month. Considering the fact that even a fourth-class employee is getting more than Rs 25,000 per month as salary, an amount of Rs 25,000 as an interim maintenance is rather reasonable, just and fair,” the Karnataka High Court said.

A 36-year-old businessman, Saurabh (name changed), had approached the HC against an order passed by the family court, directing him to pay an interim maintenance of `25,000 per month, inclusive of litigation expenses, to 32-year-old Vanitha (name changed), who is residing at Hanumangarh in Rajasthan.  
Saurabh’s counsel had contended that although Vanitha had pleaded that her husband was a businessman, she did not produce any evidence with regard to his income. The family court is unjustified in granting an interim maintenance of `25,000 per month, which cannot be borne by Saurabh.

Since Vanitha is living in a village, `25,000 is too large a sum to be paid to her for her maintenance. Therefore, the court should reduce the amount, the counsel prayed. During the course of the divorce proceeding, Vanitha filed an application seeking an interim maintenance of `75,000 per month from her husband.

“After all, the wife has to maintain herself, and has to lead a lifestyle that she became accustomed to, having married a businessman. Moreover, her dignity cannot be denied to her merely on the ground that she has left the matrimonial home. Thus, this court does not find any illegality or perversity in the impugned order. This petition, being devoid of any merit, is hereby dismissed,” the court said.

“A bare perusal of the impugned order clearly shows that the husband did not deny the fact that he has a regular income from his business setup. Moreover, he did not reveal his monthly income to the family court. Since there was no specific denial by the husband of the assertion made by the wife, the family court was justified in accepting the wife’s contention. Therefore, the first contention, being raised by the husband, is clearly untenable,” the court said.

The court also said that poverty is no defence to an interim maintenance application as the husband is both legally and morally bound to maintain his wife. Therefore, the husband is not justified in claiming that he cannot afford a maintenance of `25,000 per month.

Hence, the second contention of the husband is clearly untenable. Saurabh and Vanitha married according to Hindu rites and customs. However, certain differences arose between them and hence they parted ways. According to Saurabh, his wife deserted him in January 2015, and went back to her parental place in Rajasthan. Therefore, he was constrained to file a divorce petition against his wife on the ground of desertion, Saurabh claimed.

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