Should Maintenance Payment Be One-way Traffic?

May 20, 2023

“Never marry the one you can live with, marry the one you cannot live without.’’

Not all go with historical wisdom distilled in quotes and then knock on the divorce courts. One such instance decided by a law court is abridged below.

A plea by a woman seeking interim maintenance of Rs 1 lakh per month from her husband was rejected by a Mumbai court last year on the ground that she was qualified enough to easily find job opportunities in a city like Mumbai

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Mumbai) SP Kekan noted that the applicant being a dentist cannot claim interim maintenance.

"The applicant is Doctor. She resides in Metropolitan city i.e. Mumbai. She is expected to do medical profession as a Dentist and very easily she can get opportunity to do such job in Mumbai. Such a qualified applicant…is not entitled for her maintenance from the husband in present case," the Court said.

The Court, however, allowed the prayer to grant maintenance to her two children and ordered the husband to pay ?20,000 per month towards the same.

The applicant and her husband had married in 2015 in Rajasthan's Ajmer and resided jointly until their separation in 2018 while she was pregnant with their second child.

According to the husband, the applicant left for her second delivery and did not return to her matrimonial house despite efforts by him. He said that she wanted him to settle down in Mumbai along with her, a proposition which was not acceptable to him. He, therefore, filed a petition for restitution of conjugal rights in the Family Court at Ajmer.

Thereafter, she filed proceedings under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (DV Act). During pendency of the proceeding, she prayed for interim relief by way of protection order, maintenance (including rent money) for herself and her children.

In the main application, she levelled several allegations of domestic violence against her husband as well as his mother. It was alleged that her husband was verbally and physically violent with her sometimes on his own accord and sometimes at the instigation of his mother.

The husband opposed the prayer for protection order, stating that it will deprive him of the opportunity to meet the wife and children since he is currently residing at Ajmer.

Both the respondents denied all the allegations made against them and instead blamed the wife for being negligent. The applicant's husband contended that he discharged all his matrimonial obligations and his mother was never violent against her. He, therefore, prayed for the main as well as ancillary proceedings to be dismissed.

The Court opined that the absence of efforts for cohabitation on part of the applicant-wife as well as her insistence to reside at a place other than the matrimonial home worked against her.

"Absence of efforts for co­habitation on the part of the applicant and her parents goes against her. She seeks accommodation or rent for accommodation at Mumbai shows that she intends to reside at Mumbai only. In fact, her matrimonial place is Ajmer in Rajasthan State. This also goes against the applicant. Presently, she has been residing with her parents means the applicant is residing in the house in which she has every right to reside as the law treats daughter and son equal in law in respect of the rights in the properties of the parents. In my considered view, the applicant is not entitled for any relief on account of residence order," it said.

However, it held that maintenance was required to be granted for the children who were in the applicant's custody.

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By John B Monteiro
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Comment on this article

  • mohan prabhu, mangalore/canada

    Mon, May 22 2023

    clear case of taking the husband to the dhobi. In a quarrel between a husband and wife, the latter has often the law on her side and most judges bend over backwards.

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