Del HC | Expenses for upbringing of child can’t be divided equally between parents; husband can’t avoid duty to maintain merely because wife is also earning

Delhi High Court: Sanjeev Sachdeva, J. dismissed a revision petition filed by the petitioner-husband against the order of the Appellate Court whereby his appeal challenging the order of interim maintenance passed by the trial court was dismissed.

The petitioner — a Muslim, and the respondent — a Christian, were married under Special Marriage Act. The petitioner had two daughters from his previous marriage. Two more daughters were born to the parties from their marriage to each other. However, subsequently, the respondent-wife alleged domestic violence and filed a petition under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. In the petition filed by her under Section 23, the trial court awarded interim maintenance of Rs 60,000 per month to be payable by the petitioner. Claiming that he was a pauper, the petitioner appealed to the Appellate Court but his appeal was dismissed. Aggrieved thereby, the petitioner filed the present petition.

The petitioner, who was represented by Adab Singh Kapoor and Shefali Menezes, Advocates submitted that the respondent had taken over his business and he had no means to pay the amount of maintenance awarded. Per contra, the respondent, who was represented by Mrinal Madhav, Tarunesh Kumar and Kaushikesh Kumar, Advocates, supported the impugned order.

The High Court noted that that three of the minor daughters, who were dependent on the petitioner and respondent, were being taken care of solely by the respondent. The petitioner was running a business of travel agency and bank account showed that he was earning a substantial sum of money. It was observed by the Court: “Mere fact that the respondent wife is earning does not absolve the petitioner of his responsibility to maintain his three minor daughters.” It was further said:

“A child for her upbringing does not only require money. A lot of time and effort goes in upbringing of a child. It would be incorrect to hold that both the parents are equally responsible for the expenses of the child. A mother who has custody of a child not only spends money on the upbringing of the child but also spent substantial time and effort in bringing up the child. One cannot put value to the time and effort put in by the mother in upbringing of the child. No doubt, mother, if she is earning, should also contribute towards the expenses of the child but the expenses cannot be divided equally between the two.”

It was found by the Court that expenditure incurred by the respondent on the three minor daughters was far more in excess of Rs 60,000 per month. In such circumstances, and further relying on Bhuwan Mohan Singh v. Meena, (2015) 6 SCC 353, the Court held that the award made by the trial court was justified. The revision petition was, therefore, dismissed. [Farooq Ahmed Shala v. Marie Chanel Gillier, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 8972, decided on 01-07-2019]

2 comments

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    I think, to put whole burden of maintenance for children on husband only when wife is also working is not correct on merit considering the fact that child is born by wed-lock of both husband and wife not only for radiation of sexual desire of both but also mutual consent to have a child. When a principle equal pay for equal work is applied in cases of rights of woman., equal responsibility for upbringing chosen is of both husband and wife. Divorce is also ultimately matter of convenience of both. Though I am supporter of woman cause but still putting total responsibility of husband to lay full maintenance of children is little unreasonable. There should be some ratio, say 20% to be paid by female and rest by male.

    • Avatar

      Read the article again again. In this case the female is bearing 100% of the charges of the three minor daughters who are in her custody. The husband doesn’t want to contribute a single rupee to his children’s education, on the grounds that the wife works and earns money. The judgement merely says that the husband should contribute partially to the cost of raising his children.

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