Calcutta High Court has awarded an interim maintenance of Rs 2 lakh per month to a working wife under provisions of Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The husband was a recipient of Winner of the President of India medal, IIT, while the wife is a journalist.
The high court was considering an order dated 2017, passed by the learned Judicial Magistrate, 4th Court, Alipore, South 24 Parganas, wherein by way of interim relief under Section 23(2) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the learned Magistrate awarded an interim monetary relief to the tune of Rs 4 lakh per month and Rs 75,000 per month for alternative accommodation to the wife.
The learned appellate court after taking into account the rival submissions of the parties had concluded,
The husband is hereby directed to pay an interim monetary relief at the rate of Rs 85,000 per month and Rs 20,000 per month towards payment of alternative accommodation to the wife from the month of August, 2018 till the disposal of the original complaint.
The grievance of the petitioner wife is with respect to the part of the order wherein the effect of the award/quantum of maintenance which was finally adjudicated was given effect to from the month of August 2018. The wife was also aggrieved with regards to the quantum of monetary relief as well as for alternative accommodation which was decided and reduced by the learned appellate court.
Arguments by Husband
According to whom the wife has suppressed material facts, disobeyed the order of NewYork Court, adopted forum shopping as also narrated figures for escalating the quantum of maintenance which has been awarded.
Submissions by Wife
Learned advocate appearing for the petitioner wife has on the other hand submitted that the cases filed by her so far as Section 498A of Indian Penal Code is concerned, have not been carried out in its proper spirit by the police authorities, the Streedhan articles are still lying with the members of the matrimonial home and there are dues which are to be cleared by the husband and the lady is unable to maintain herself.
Arguments by Husband on Quantum of Maintenance
The basic earning of the husband which has been submitted before the court is USD 110,000 (INR 82 lakh approx). Learned advocate appearing for the husband tried to emphasise that there cannot be a relationship between a husband’s earning in dollars which would be the criteria for deciding maintenance, it has been settled by the Delhi High Court that if a person earns in dollars the expenditure are in dollars also.
Calcutta High Court
Having heard arguments from each side, the judge noted that both parties have not adduced any evidence in spite of the case being initiated in the year 2017 and has been contesting on the issue of interim maintenance since the inspection of the case. Thus, the court said that it was of the view that the observations made by this court should be restricted to the stage at which it is being considered for the purpose of interim monetary relief and/or for alternate accommodation.
Before deciding on the quantum, the high court passed the following directions for being adhered to by the Judicial Magistrate for further progress of the case:
(a) Both the parties would file their affidavit of assets before learned Judicial Magistrate, 4th Court, Alipore, South 24 Parganas, in connection with the complaint case within a period of four weeks from the date of communication of this order
(b) The learned Magistrate would thereafter, proceed with the case calling upon the complainant to adduce evidence and on regular basis fix dates on each and every month so that the trial can be taken to its logical conclusion within a year from the date of examination of the complainant
(c) So far as the husband/in-laws are concerned they may be allowed to be represented through their learned advocates in course of the trial provided they file affidavits before the court that they will not be prejudiced if the evidence is recorded in their absence
(d) So far as the evidence of the husband or their relations are concerned, the learned Magistrate will not insist on physical appearance if by other means recording of evidence is possible
(e) If the husband changes his address, then in that case same must be informed to the learned Magistrate
(f) The Passport and Visa details must be furnished by the husband and other relations before the learned Magistrate while praying for exemption from appearance
Quantum of Maintenance
As the quantum of maintenance is concerned, having regard to the basic earning of the husband which has been referred to above and the fact that the amount which is now being fixed is an interim measure till the final determination of the rights are adjudicated by the learned Magistrate, the court extended following relief to the wife:
(i) Interim monetary relief of Rs 1,60,000 per month to be paid from August 2017
(ii) Alternative accommodation of Rs 40,000 to be paid from August 2017
(iii) Dues which are accruing should be adjusted towards arrears to a fixed sum of Rs 50,000/- per month. The same would be considered for the present to be within the aggregated amount of Rs 2,00,000/- (Rs.1,60,000/- + Rs.40,000/-). The total dues would be calculated and determined by the trial court on 30th September, 2022
(iv) The final judgement should be pronounced by the Court on or before 30th September, 2022
All pending applications were consequently disposed of.
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