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No bar on estranged wife seeking more maintenance under different law: Bombay High Court

Court upholds civil judge’s 2016 order that granted additional maintenance to woman from Pune

mumbai Updated: Oct 10, 2017 15:23 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
The Bombay High Court clarified that women can petition for more maintenance under a different law than the one she filed the first time.(HT File)

An estranged wife can seek more maintenance from her husband under a different legal provision than the one she had filed earlier, if she feels that the amount granted the first time is inadequate, the Bombay high court has clarified.

“There is no bar as such to filing of an application under section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act merely because the wife is getting some amount of maintenance as per an order passed under section 125 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC),” Justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi said last week.

The judge said that while considering such an application, the court has to ensure that the total amount of maintenance, including the one awarded earlier, does not exceed the husband’s capacity to pay.

The court made the clarification while hearing pleas filed by an estranged couple from Pune district. The husband approached the court challenging an August 29, 2016, order of a civil judge that awarded an interim maintenance of Rs 4,000 per month to his wife after she petitioned that the amount was meagre and asked for more under section 125 of CrPC. The husband contended that the civil judge had failed to take into consideration that his wife had already been awarded Rs 5,000 per month by a magistrate court under provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (DV) Act, 2005.

His lawyer had argued that once maintenance is granted, a second application under a different legal provision is not maintainable, and therefore the civic judge should not have granted additional maintenance. However, Justice Phansalkar-Joshi rejected this contention and observed that there is no bar on such a second application for additional maintenance.

The judge noted that when maintenance was granted to the woman for the first time under the DV Act, the husband’s monthly income was Rs 26,623, and when the civil judge’s order came after more than a year, his net monthly salary was Rs 36,013. Besides, she said, he was also earning Rs 15,000 per month from renting property. There was a considerable rise in the husband’s earnings and in the wife’s expenses because of inflation, so there was nothing wrong in granting additional maintenance, she said.

First Published: Oct 10, 2017 14:48 IST