A woman who leaves her husband and starts living in with someone else is entitled to maintenance from her husband, if she proves she is destitute with no source of income after her live-in partner's death. The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court passed this crucial ruling earlier this week.
On Monday, justice AV Nirgude rejected a petition filed by the husband, a resident of Ahmednagar district, seeking cancellation of an order that directed him to pay maintenance to his estranged wife.
The judge posed a question for determination: Whether a married woman, who stays in adultery with another person after obtaining order of maintenance from her legally wedded husband, is entitled to continue the right of maintenance after the live-in relationship ends?
“The answer is in affirmative,” justice Nirgude said, noting that the live-in partner of the woman had died in 2002, compelling her to look to her husband for maintenance. “In such a situation, if she proves that she is destitute and has no source of income, she is entitled to look to her husband for maintenance,” the judge observed.
The couple married in 1987 and stayed together for four years, during which they were gifted with a baby girl. In 1991, the woman left her husband, and in the same year, approached a magistrate court seeking maintenance for herself and the daughter. On 1993, the court asked the husband to pay a monthly maintenance to the woman and the child.
Four years later, the husband filed a petition seeking divorce and stopped paying maintenance. A year later, the trial court allowed his petition ex-parte. However, in 2006, the wife started demanding amount of maintenance, as ordered by the magistrate court earlier, which prompted the husband to approach the magistrate court seeking cancellation of the earlier order.
He alleged the woman had married a widower and had been living with him after the couple separated. The court said that on the basis of available evidence, at the most it could be said that the woman was living in with the man.