The Bombay high court recently upheld that a woman is entitled to an enhanced maintenance on par with the increased cost of living and earnings of her former husband, even if the estranged spouses had entered into a full and final settlement.
Endorsing the view of a lower court, justice Abhay Thipsay last week rejected an appeal filed by a resident of Patoda in Beed district, against a lower court order enhancing his wife’s monthly maintenance from Rs1,500 to Rs2,500.
In September 2010, taking note of inflation and the resultant increase in cost of living, the magistrate enhanced the woman’s maintenance.
The sessions court later confirmed this order, stating that the maintenance amount should be enhanced as the salary of the husband, a government employee, has increased considerably in view of the implementation of the sixth pay commission recommendations.
The appellant then moved the Aurangabad bench of the HC. He contended that in 2000, the estranged spouses had arrived at a settlement and fixed the monthly maintenance at Rs1,500.
Therefore she could not seek an increase, he said.
Justice Thipsay, however, did not find merit in his argument. The judge said that a change in cost of living and husband’s increased income can be taken into consideration even after the spouses have arrived at a full and final settlement.
“Considering the increase in salary and rising prices, actu ally there has been no increase and the amount that is now enhanced, would be roughly the same as the respondent was expected to get every month by virtue of the said settlement or compromise,” Thipsay said.