The Bombay High Court on Friday held that the primary duty of maintenance is that of the husband and cannot be wished away.
The court was hearing a case in which a woman had challenged an order passed by a Family Court at Bandra rejecting her application for interim maintenance. The woman told the court that her husband had indulged in cruelty and forced her out of her matrimonial home.
Justice M S Sonak said husband and wife were accustomed to a certain lifestyle, and the woman’s earning will not dis-entitle her when it comes to claiming additional amounts by way of interim maintenance. The court also said the husband cannot deny the wife interim maintenance on the grounds that her parents are rich and affluent or that her parents are in a position to maintain her. “Primary duty of maintenance is that of respondent – husband and the same cannot be wished away on the basis of such considerations,” the court said.
The court directed the husband to pay Rs 75,000 per month as interim maintenance starting January 5, 2011.
The woman told the court that although she earns working as a French tutor, her lifestyle, that she was used to, along with her husband before their relationship became strained, cannot be remotely maintained with her income.
Stating that her husband is “filthy” rich, the wife gave detailed information about his income, wealth and lifestyle. The wife also submitted the break-up of expenses and the basis to claim interim maintenance of Rs 5 lakh per month.
The husband, in reply to the application for interim maintenance, denied everything claimed by the wife regarding his income, wealth and lifestyle. He told the court that his monthly income is Rs 20,000.
Justice Sonak said: “…Respondent’s (husband’s) luxurious lifestyle, which is reflected from the material placed on record, it is not possible to accept that the income of the respondent is only Rs 4 to 5 lakh per annum. The respondent is easily in a position to pay interim maintenance of Rs 1 lakh per month to the petitioner. However, since the petitioner earns Rs 25,000 to 30,000 per month… it will be reasonable if the interim maintenance is determined at Rs 75,000 per month.”
The court further held that the details from the Registrar of Companies itself bear out that husband is a director and has considerable share holding in the family concerned, which is in business for the past several decades.