Is it possible for a husband to suddenly become devoid of all income sources when asked to provide maintenance to his wife? Saket Court elaborates

Saket Courts, Delhi: While addressing a maintenance matter, Anuj Agrawal, Additional Sessions Judge-05, expressed that, it can not be believed that a person who was capable of supporting a family by getting married, would all of a sudden become devoid of all sources of income.

A complaint under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was filed by the respondent/wife against the appellant/husband on the ground that she had been subjected to domestic violence by the husband and his father. The said complaint was accompanied with an application under Section 23 of the DV Act seeking interim maintenance, which was disposed of by the Trial Court.

Analysis, Law and Decision

The Court stated that while fixing interim maintenance, Court has to take a prima facie view of the matter and need not critically examine the claims of parties regarding their incomes and assets because for deciding the same, the evidence would be required.

“…an aggrieved person cannot be rendered to lead a life of a destitute till completion of trial.” 

The Bench expressed that for computing the maintenance, a test had been laid by the Supreme Court in Jasbir Kaur Sehgal v. District Judge, Dehradun, (1997) 7 SCC 7.

Wife Well Qualified

The Court while citing the Supreme Court decision in Rajnesh v. Neha, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 903 reiterated that,

The Courts have held that if the wife is earning, it cannot operate as a bar from being awarded maintenance by the husband.

Husband’s Income

In the present matter, the respondent/wife claimed that the monthly income of the respondent was Rs 1.5 lakhs, however, the said claim of the respondent/wife was not supported by any material on record.

The Bench stated that it came on record that the appellant/husband was a well-qualified person having qualification of BUMS and was in the profession of ‘Hakim’, hence even is his income was NIL, but his earning capacity could not be lost sight of.

Further, the Court added that, it could not be believed that a person who was capable of supporting a family by getting married, would all of a sudden become devoid of all sources of income. Hence, the Trial Court’s approach while assessing the monthly income of the husband was correct.

Settled Law

A wife is entitled to the same status and lifestyle that she was enjoying prior to severing the relationship.

Therefore, interim maintenance has to be commensurate with her needs as well as the income of her husband.

On finding no impropriety in the impugned order, the appeal filed by the husband stood dismissed. [Amjad Ali v. Sufia Chaudhary, 2022 SCC OnLine Dis Crt (Del) 13, decided on 5-5-2022]

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