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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

HC: Man with higher income must pay maintenance to wife

mumbai Updated: Oct 13, 2019 00:38 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari

If a man belongs to a higher income bracket, he must pay maintenance to his estranged wife, the Bombay high court (HC) said on Thursday while directing a city resident to pay monthly maintenance of ₹25,000.

“The husband undoubtedly belongs to a higher income bracket [compared to his wife]. He must, therefore, take the responsibility of providing some maintenance to the wife,” said the division bench of justices Akil Kureshi and SJ Kathawalla.

The bench was hearing a plea filed in April 2018 by the man’s estranged wife seeking maintenance of ₹15,000 and an additional sum of ₹15,000 towards house rent. The plea was filed after the man challenged a family court order rejecting his divorce petition.

The woman’s counsel argued that she was earlier employed as an interior designer at a realty firm but was unemployed since February 2018 owing to a slump in the real estate market. She is forced to live in a small room, admeasuring 100-square-feet, that she is sharing with her mother and brother, the counsel said. Meanwhile, the man is employed with an information technology (IT) firm and earns a decent salary.

The husband challenged her plea, contending that the woman has the capacity to earn. He said it is unbelievable that she was rendered jobless, as she used to freelance even when she was employed with the builder and can continue to do the same now. He said apart from repaying home loan, he has other sizeable liabilities, being the only son of his aged parents. His father, he claimed, is paralytic and requires constant medical attention and costs.

The judges said they recognise the man’s responsibility to look after his aged parents. They also did not discard his suggestion that his wife was capable of earning an income and agreed that she can definitely still work as a freelance interior designer.

However, the bench noted that even when the woman worked, her maximum annual income was less than ₹25,000 per month, whereas her estranged husband earns more than ₹90,000 per month. Since the husband belongs to a higher income bracket, he must pay some maintenance to his wife, the bench said.

First Published: Oct 13, 2019 00:38 IST

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