Husband under obligation to maintain estranged wife: Court

A man is liable to maintain his estranged wife even if he does not possess any property or does not have a regular source of income,a Delhi court has said.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Published:March 8, 2009 12:28 pm

A man is liable to maintain his estranged wife even if he does not possess any property or does not have a regular source of income,a Delhi court has said.

“A married man more so a Hindu is under a legal and moral obligation to maintain his estranged wife even if he does not possess any property or has no income. The obligation to maintain her is personal in character and arises from the very existence of the relationship,” Additional Sessions Judge Nivedita Anil Sharma said.

The court’s observations came while dismissing a petition of a man challenging a Metropolitan Magistrate’s order asking him to pay Rs 8,000 monthly as interim maintenance to his estranged wife under the Domestic Violence Act.

The maintenance must be depending upon the status,family background,qualification and social circle of both the sides,the court said,adding that the man is under a legal responsibility to pay the money to his wife.

It refused to allow the plea of the man that he had never maltreated his wife,who was living separately from him.

“Needless to mention here that it is mixed question of law and fact whether or not the respondent (wife) is living separately from the appellant (man) due to her own conduct and cannot be decided without adducing of evidence by both the sides,” the court said.

The court said that the amount of Rs 8,000 awarded to the woman was “absolutely correct and reasonable” and there was nothing on records to show otherwise.

It also referred to the income tax returns of the man,who claimed to be earning a mere sum of Rs 6,175 per month from a private concern,to conclude that his income was shown to be increasing with each year.

“When the gross income of the revisionist (man) is steadily increasing,then it cannot be said by any stretch of imagination that Rs 8,000 is on the higher side or excessive.

The respondent would require at least this much amount to live with dignity and maintain herself,” the court said.

It also noted that the man did not have the responsibility and liability of anyone except the estranged wife so he had to maintain her.

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