Nothing wrong if alimony is for maintaining lifestyle: Bombay HC

  • Kanchan Chaudhari, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 21, 2016 00:16 IST

There is nothing wrong in a woman expecting to maintain the same lifestyle in the society in which she lived with her estranged husband, the Bombay high court said, and in a partial relief to a man from a royal family, ordered him to deposit 75% of the Rs11-crore permanent alimony.

A division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Prakash Naik asked Ranjeet Nabha to deposit with the high court registry within three months 75% of the permanent alimony awarded by the Bandra family court — Rs6 crore for his former wife Udita and Rs5 crore for their minor daughter.

The estranged couple had tied the knot in March 1995 at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh, and stayed in New York till 2006. They returned to Mumbai where Udita approached the family court seeking dissolution of marriage on the ground of objectionable conduct and behaviour of her husband.

In September 2015, the Bandra court dissolved the marriage and directed Nabha to pay Rs11 crore as permanent alimony to Udita and their daughter. He challenged the family court ruling in the HC and sought a stay on the alimony decree .

In the HC, Nabha’s counsel contended that an exorbitant amount had been ordered to be paid without any cogent and convincing reasoning. The counsel argued that the family court appeared to be impressed by the wealth possessed by his mother, head of the royal family, but properties held by the parents of the husband could not be taken into consideration while deciding on the alimony. Nabha further contended that his former wife also hails from a wealthy family and had a steady personal income of Rs2 lakh per month.

Udita, on the other hand, argued that Nabha had sufficient means and resources to satisfy the decree, and the evidence to back her arguments has been produced . The couple was leading a comfortable life in the US and considering the lifestyle and the cost to be borne to maintain the standard of living which she was accustomed to, the husband should pay her the amount, she contended.

The judges found substance in her pleading that there was nothing wrong in her expecting to maintain the same lifestyle in which she lived. But they felt that at the same time husband’s financial condition was also required to be looked into.

Ultimately, the court stayed the execution of the decree, but with the rider that Ranjeet will deposit with the court 75 % of the total amount decreed in favour of his former wife and daughter.

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