The Delhi High Court has ruled that the financial status of her in-laws cannot be the basis for deciding alimony to an estranged wife.
"Status of parents of the husband, in no manner, can be considered by the court while awarding maintenance to his wife. It is the duty of the husband to maintain the wife and not of his parents," Justice Aruna Suresh said.
The order was passed on the plea of a woman seeking enhancement of her alimony from Rs 3,000 to Rs 8,000 per month on the ground that her husband's family income was much higher than what was taken into account by the trial court.
Rejecting the woman's plea that her estranged husband was a man of means and the trial court awarded only a meagre amount of maintenance, the court noted that no specific information was submitted by her to prove the claims.
"She has not disclosed any source of income of the husband. She has only referred to the immovable properties including the agricultural land, which, admittedly, are in the name of the parents. It is the duty of the husband to maintain the wife and not of his parents," the court said.
The husband had opposed the plea saying properties said to be belonging to him were actually owned by his father and he had no means of income.
"Since trial court was not provided with any specific information regarding source of income of the husband, it had to adopt a probable formula to award maintenance to the wife.
"She (wife) is being provided with a residential accommodation and she does not have bear any expenses for her residence," the court noted.
Earlier, a magisterial court had awarded Rs 3,000 per month to the estranged wife.