Remarriage of a man cannot be a ground to deny his first wife legitimate maintenance, the Bombay high court (HC) said while enhancing monthly maintenance of a Thane resident from Rs 1,500, which was fixed in to Rs 12,500.
“The subsequent event of remarriage of the respondent cannot take away the right of the first wife to get maintenance to which she is legitimately entitled,” said the division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice Ajay Gadkari while deciding the appeal of the 41-year-old woman.
The woman had approached the high court challenging a February 2007 order of the family court at Bandra. The husband, on the other hand, opposed the plea for enhancement contending that he was taking care of maintenance and education of their son. It was also pleaded on behalf of the husband that during the pendency of the appeal he had remarried in November 2010.
The court rejected the husband’s plea to take into consideration his status – that he was remarried and had also the liability of the second wife. “The respondent (husband) has remarried during the pendency of this appeal with the full notice that he is liable to pay maintenance to his first wife at an enhanced rate as may be decided in the appeal,” the court observed.
The high court struck down the family court order and directed the husband to pay the woman sum of Rs 12,500 per month from January 1, 2012. Besides, the husband has also been ordered to pay her arrears for the years 2006 and 2007 at the rate of Rs 2,500 per month, Rs 4,000 for 2008 and 2009 and Rs 6,500 for 2010 and Rs 10,000 per month for 2011.