The Delhi High Court in its recent order has upheld monthly maintenance to wife, although she is educated and qualified to be working. The court said ‘capable of earning’ cannot be a sufficient reason to reduce the maintenance awarded to her by family court in a case of matrimonial dispute.
The husband had filed a petition challenging the maintenance amount of Rs 50,000 per month to his wife.
A Bengaluru man had filed a plea – against monthly maintenance awarded to his wife – arguing that she was an independent practising advocate. The man has a salary of Rs 1.68 lakh per month out of which family court has ordered him to pay Rs 50,000 per month to his wife.
The woman on the other hand, denied husband’s submissions and said that eventhough she was qualified to be an advocate, she was fully dependent on her parents for a living.
Delhi High Court
Evaluating whether a wife can be denied maintenance only on the basis of the fact that she is capable of earning, the court ruled in favour of the woman stating, that being ‘capable of earning’ and ‘actual earning’ are two different situations.
The court in its order said,
Merely because the wife is capable of earning was held not be sufficient reason to reduce the maintenance awarded by the family court.
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The high court decided not to overrule the trial court’s order, stating that the man had admitted his salary to be Rs 1.68 lakh per month and that should be divided into three equal shares. Out of which, two parts will be for the petitioner and one for the respondent.
The court considered Rs 50,000 per month as interim maintenance to the woman as “completely justified”.
The marriage between the parties was solemnised on September 15, 2018. After living with the man in the matrimonial home at Bengaluru for a month, the wife left the house in October 2018. She then filed a case demanding Rupees One lakh per month as maintenance.
The man in his defense argued that the court had completely ignored the fact that his wife was enrolled as an advocate and hence, could sustain herself by earning independently. He also argued that when the wife is professionally qualified and capable of earning, question of maintenance should not arise.