Raj HC | Wife earning a certain amount will not absolve husband’s liability to provide maintenance under S. 24 HMA Act, 1955

Rajasthan High Court: The Division Bench comprising of Mohammad Rafiq and Narendra Singh Dhaddha, JJ. dismissed an appeal filed by an aggrieved husband stating that,

“Even if the wife earns a certain amount, that does not absolve the husband of his liability to maintain her in the meaning of Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.”

The present appeal was filed by the appellant-husband aggrieved by the order of the Family Court, which had allowed the application of the respondent-wife filed under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 granting Rs 7000 as monthly maintenance pendente lite.

Learned Counsel, Raunak Dixit on behalf of appellant-husband, submitted that family court mechanically granted the amount of monthly maintenance and the order passed is against the settled principle of law.

Adding to the above, Counsel for the appellant-husband submitted that, the fact that respondent-wife is a graduate and also has attained a degree of B.Ed. She earns a monthly Rs 20,000 by her teaching work, whereas the appellant earns only Rs 6,000 per month.

Further, the Counsel for the appellant relied on the case of Nisha Jain v. Amit Jain, 2016 SCC OnLine Del 4866, wherein it was held that,

“Provision of Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 has been enacted to enable the husband or the wife, as the case may be, who has no independent source of income for his or her support and to incur necessary expenses to contest the litigation, can claim maintenance pendente lite so that proceedings may be continued without any hardship on his/her part.”

The High Court keeping in view the above-stated submissions and circumstances of the case, noted that, the respondent-wife alleged that the appellant-husband’s income is approximately Rs 80,000 per month along with that he runs a catering business and maintains a car, on the basis of which respondent-wife demanded Rs 40,000 as monthly maintenance.

But the appellant-husband maintained his stand of earning a very minimal amount in comparison to respondent-wife as stated above.

In Supreme Court’s case of Sunita Kachwaha v. Anil Kachwaha, (2014) 16 SCC 715, it was held that,

“Merely because the wife was earning something, would not be a ground to reject her claim for maintenance particularly when her earnings were not placed on record.”

Therefore, in view of the above, the Court found no merit in the appeal and dismissed it stating that, wife earning a certain amount will not absolve husband’s liability to maintain her under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.[Ajay Mittal v. Sonu Goyal, 2019 SCC OnLine Raj 2403, decided on 22-08-2019]

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