A wife is not entitled to maintenance if she walks out of her matrimonial home willingly, the Supreme Court has said.
Dismissing a woman’s petition seeking Rs 4,000 as monthly maintenance from her former husband, a bench headed by Justice VS Sirpurkar on Monday said, “You left the matrimonial home on your own and now you want maintenance. Is this the law of the country? What is the justification for your staying separately?”
The court upheld a Punjab and Haryana High Court order denying maintenance to the petitioner since she had not gone back to her husband.
The woman had left her matrimonial home and minor children in Jind, Haryana, in 1998, accusing her husband of demanding dowry.
She then moved a local court seeking divorce on the ground of cruelty. Her husband filed a petition for the restitution of his conjugal rights.
In 2003, the court dismissed her plea for a legal separation. Despite a judicial order, she did not return to her husband.
A year later, the woman approached the court again, asking for divorce — on the ground that she was living separately — and maintenance. Though her divorce plea was granted, her appeal for maintenance was turned down.