The Bombay high court has ruled that a woman is not entitled to claim maintenance in divorce cases if she is wealthy herself and is able to maintain her lifestyle despite the estrangement.
The recent judgment was awarded by a division bench comprising justice AK Menon and justice AS Oka, while rejecting an application filed by a resident of Nariman Point, seeking enhancement of the alimony granted to her by a family court.
The 47-year-old woman and her husband, both residents of south Mumbai, were granted a divorce by the Bandra family court in 2002, after nine years of marriage. The court directed the husband to pay a monthly alimony of Rs 25,000 to the woman, and another Rs 25,000 each month towards the expenses of their daughter.
The woman, however, approached the Bombay high court, seeking that her alimony be enhanced to at least Rs 75,000 per month, considering her ex-husband was “extremely wealthy.”
However, in course of court proceedings, it was revealed that the woman herself was the managing director of businesses in Singapore, and enjoyed a stable income. It was also revealed she lived in her parents’ flat at Nariman Point and possessed several assets.
The high court ruled that even after her divorce, there was no visible change in the woman’s lifestyle and she “continued to go on regular holidays abroad.” The division bench said this made her “ineligible for seeking any alimony, let alone an enhancement.” However, the bench decided not to interfere with the family court’s decision of awarding her the alimony of Rs25,000 each month.
“The woman is self-sufficient, wealthy and financially independent. She had deliberately suppressed her assets and income from her businesses...keeping her financial status in mind, we do not find there is any ground for her to seek an enhancement,” the bench said, while directing the husband to ensure he continues to share the education expenses of their daughter.