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Estranged wife entitled to same luxurious lifestyle as husband: Punjab & Haryana HC

The HC division bench was hearing a plea filed by a Panchkula woman, seeking Rs 1.5 lakh as monthly maintenance from her husband.

punjab Updated: Oct 29, 2017 14:23 IST
Surender Sharma
Surender Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh news,Panchkula,marital dispute

The Punjab and Haryana high court has held that responsibility to provide for a reasonable, comfortable and luxurious life commensurate at least to what is being enjoyed by the husband cannot be denied to the wife in cases of matrimonial disputes.

The high court (HC) division bench of justices MMS Bedi and AG Masih said the educational qualification and capability of the wife to take up employment in matrimonial disputes would not be relevant for determination of the maintenance, as it in itself does not generate any income.

“Capability and potential thus are aspects which are not relevant as far as situation prevalent at the time when the application is being considered for decision. However, in case of change in circumstances, the parties are at liberty to approach the court again,” the HC observed.

The HC division bench was hearing a plea filed by a Panchkula woman, seeking Rs 1.5 lakh as monthly maintenance from her husband.

Divorce proceedings underway

The woman got married to the Punjab-based businessman in 2007, but due to marital discord, she left his house in 2009. The divorce proceedings are still underway.

She told the court that her husband owns infrastructure firms and car dealerships besides properties in Bathinda, Zirakpur and Nabha. The husband also has membership of various prestigious clubs: Delhi Gymkhana Club, Kasauli Club and the Dune Club at Bathinda and owns a fleet of cars.

Hence, she being the wife is entitled to similar lifestyle, she argued.

The husband argued that the woman is well educated and capable of earning, but has chosen not to work. He told the court that dealership of the firm he owned got cancelled and premises were taken over by a bank. He said he is in under heavy debt and did not own some of properties cited by the wife, while others are being used for residential purposes only.

‘Entitled to benefit’

While directing the husband to pay Rs 40,000 monthly maintenance to the petitioner, the court observed that where the wife does not have enough and sufficient source of income or the same is not sufficient to enjoy a life as she was enjoying in her matrimonial home along with her husband, she would be entitled to the benefit.

“It is correct that the status and the capacity of the spouse to pay maintenance as also the independent income of the applicant (woman) is also required to be taken into consideration, but it cannot be lost sight of that husband owes a moral responsibility to support his wife,” the court said.

The court reduced the maintenance amount as sought by the woman as it came to light that she has some income from rent.

First Published: Oct 29, 2017 14:22 IST