The Madras High Court has ruled that a marriage could not be dissolved by a written agreement based on fulfillment of certain conditions including payment of alimony, and ordered maintenance of Rs 4,000 per month to a woman.
Passing a common order on revision petitions filed by a separated couple, Justice P Devadoss of the HC’s Madurai Bench, said marriage could not be considered as dissolved in the absence of a divorce decree issued by a court.
While the woman had challenged a family court’s order dismissing her plea for maintenance, her husband had sought setting aside of the order by the same court directing him to pay monthly maintenance of Rs 3,000 to his minor daughter.
The family court had denied maintenance on the basis of a “divorce settlement deed”, according to which the woman had agreed to dissolve the marriage on payment of Rs 1.35 lakh to her.
Finding fault with the family court, Justice Devadoss said it should have asked the husband to produce the original deed. He had submitted only a photocopy, it said.
As the deed remained unproven, it was liable to be eschewed from being considered, it said.
A marriage could not be considered as dissolved in the absence of a divorce decree, the judge held and ordered payment of Rs.4,000 per month to the woman.