Delhi High Court emphasizes on the importance of husband’s/father’s obligation towards estranged wife/child; Upholds maintenance decree granted by Family Court

Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court: Asha Menon, J. upheld the maintenance decree granted by the Family Court directing the husband to pay Rs 20,000 monthly to the wife and his child as maintenance keenly analyzing his earning vis a vis his expenditure.

The present petition was filed under Section 482 Criminal Procedure Code i.e., CrPC for quashing of an order dated 11-12-2021, passed by the Family Court, North-East, Karkardooma Courts whereby directions were issued to the petitioner-husband to pay a sum of Rs.20,000/- as a consolidated amount towards the interim maintenance of the respondents i.e., wife and child.

The Court noting that the present petition has no merits observed that the power of the Court under Section 482 CrPC is an extraordinary power, to be used sparingly, carefully and with caution and only when the continuation of the criminal proceedings will lead to miscarriage of justice or there was a disclosure of abuse of process of the court.

Based on evidence available on record and documents placed before Court, it is apparent that it is the petitioner who had inflated his expenditure especially Rs.10,000/- per month for his aged parents, who are admittedly living in their own residence on a 50 sq. yds. plot at Bhajanpura, Delhi owned by his father. The petitioner owns a Hyundai EON car and a smartphone of Samsung yet, he wishes to peg the maintenance of the respondent to Rs.4,000/- (before this Court Rs.5,000/-) i.e., less than half of the sum he allegedly spends on his old parents. A growing child and a mother who is taking care of all the needs of such a growing child is to somehow manage with Rs.4,000/-, whereas the petitioner and his parents can have a greatly enhanced level of comfort by spending Rs.25,000/- to Rs.28,000/- on themselves.

The Court noted that such an attitude is shameful no husband or a father must deny a fair standard of living for a wife who is a homemaker and their child of tender age.

The Court observed that matrimonial relationships can come to an end for a variety of reasons including ego clashes. The creation of Family Courts, the entire set up of Counseling Centers, and the availability of mediation whether before litigation or during litigation, are all intended for a more amiable and less torturous resolution of matrimonial and family problems. To deny maintenance to an estranged wife and child is the worst offence, even from a humanitarian perspective. Yet, it is a sad truth that husbands force their wives to file execution petitions to delay payments, even after a court of law has determined her entitlement, albeit, even if as an interim measure.

The Court dismissed the petition directing Rs 20,000 to be paid to the respondent wife as maintenance on the next date of hearing before the Family Court.

[Pradeep Kumar v. Bhawana, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 2082, decided on 18-07-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Pradeep Kumar Yadav, Advocate, for the Petitioner;

Mr. Praveen Goswami and Mr. Vijay Chauhan, Advocates, for the Respondent.

*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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