Nearly 13 years after he parted ways with his wife within days of their marriage, a non resident Indian has been directed to pay her over Rs. 11.6 lakh as total maintenance for 44 months of separation till she remarried.
Justice ML Mehta said it would be "just and reasonable to award the plaintiff (woman) maintenance of $500 per month (Rs 26,500 approx)" and interest over the amount.
In her plea for maintenance, the woman had sought $1200 per month.
The Delhi high court had on July 27, 2001, awarded $ 400 per month as interim maintenance but the man, a software developer, failed to comply with the order.
Allowing the woman's plea, he said, "The defendant (husband) is thus ordered to pay a sum of USD 500 per month or equivalent of Indian National Rupee to the plaintiff (woman) from the date of institution of suit i.e. February 9, 2000 till November 3, 2003 within a month from today and thereafter with 12 per cent interest till payment or realisation."....Since the plaintiff has remarried on November 3, 2003, she would be entitled to maintenance only upto this period," the court said.
The high court directed the ex-husband to also pay interest of 18% on the interim maintenance fixed by it for failing to pay the amount.
The order came after the woman moved a plea for initiating contempt of court proceedings.
The woman's counsel Tariq Siddiqi had submitted before the court that his client who was working in Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) had to leave India for her marriage which was held on April 23, 1999 in Delaware, USA.
"Two days after the marriage, a demand of Rs. 10 lakh in cash along with additional gifts was made as a precondition for her to continue staying with him," the lawyer said.
As per the woman's plea, after she and her father failed to persuade her husband, she finally left USA on May 11, 1999.
The NRI is working with a software development company in Wilmington, Delaware and was earning $5000 per month plus perks and bonuses, her plea said.