NEW DELHI: A Delhi court has awarded Rs 2.7 lakh maintenance to a woman who left a lucrative career in showbiz to be a housewife in 2000, and taken note of the uncertain nature of the film industry and the difficulties she may face in regaining a "foothold" in it.
Additional Sessions Judge A K Kuhara allowed the woman's appeal seeking enhancement of maintenance in a domestic violence case lodged against her husband and raised the amount from Rs 1.7 lakh to Rs 2.7 lakh per month.
The court noted in its recent ruling that she was a filmmaker who had studied in the US and it was not easy for her to revive her career as she had remained away from her profession for 17 years.
"It is an admitted fact that appellant has done a course in Film Making from United States of America. She got married with the respondent (husband) in the year 2000 and since then she is not working," the judge said.
Her qualification can be utilised only in the film industry which offers a "very uncertain career" and works on the principle of "out of sight, out of mind", he added.
"To regain her foothold in the film industry will not be an easy task, considering the mental state she must be having after her marriage broke," he stated.
The court also observed that a woman should not be dependent on a man for survival but at times even a working woman is devastated when her marriage crumbles.
It referred to gender equality in society and expectations that a woman should not be dependent on a man for her survival and sustenance, particularly when she has "capacity" to make her own living.
"At the same time one has to consider the fact that many a times even a working women is so devastated when her marriage life crumbles that it take considerable time for her to gather the strength to bear the reality," the court said.
The judge also said that the husband maintained a high standard of living and the Rs 1 lakh awarded to the woman by the magisterial court was not sufficient.
"I would say that the husband is maintaining a high standard of living which a person cannot achieve and maintain with the sum of Rs 1 lakh per month. Needless to add here that appellant being the wife is entitled to live the same lifestyle," the judge said.
The court also rejected the husband's contention that his wife had committed adultery, saying the matter was subjudice before a competent court and it was only an allegation which was not proved yet.
"Considering the lifestyle which she is accustomed to, it would be appropriate to increase the interim maintenance subject to the final outcome of the petition under Domestic Violence Act," the court said.
The court noted that the trial court had awarded Rs 70,000 for alternate accommodation to her.
"It is to be noted that appellant has been living with her husband in New Friends Colony which obviously is a class one colony inhabited by affluent people.
"...reasonable want for accommodation can be met by awarding a sum of Rs 70,000 exclusively for her accommodation and for meeting her maintenance and ancillary expenses a sum of Rs two lakh will be justified at this stage considering the standard of living of husband and which has been enjoyed by the woman in the matrimonial home," it said.
The woman had challenged a 2015 order of the trial court awarding her Rs 1.7 lakh per month as interim maintenance including accommodation expenses.
In her complaint, the woman alleged that her husband and mother-in-law inflicted extreme torture. She sought maintenance and accommodation allowance claiming her husband's annual income was over Rs 60 lakh.
The husband, however, claimed innocence and contended that the woman was a qualified woman who has been working in film industry and was competent to earn her livelihood.