Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: Biswajit Basu, J. dismissed a revision application of the filed by a lady seeking alimony pendente lite.

The husband/respondent and the wife herein had filed a matrimonial suit seeking dissolution of their marriage by a decree of divorce, inter alia, on the grounds of cruelty. In the said suit, the wife had filed an application before the learned trial judge under Section 36 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 praying alimony pendente lite at the rate of Rs 50,000 per month. The wife alleged that the husband is working in a reputed organization in the USA and was earning around Rs 75,00,000 per annum. Thus, she was entitled to maintenance proportionate to the income of the husband. However, after assessing her salary certificates for December 2018, January 2019 and March 2019, the learned judge opined that the present income of the wife is not less than Rs 74000 being sufficient for her support particularly when she herself assessed her requirement at Rs 50,000 in the application for alimony pendente lite.  And as Section 36 provides for temporary financial support pending any action under Chapter V or VI of the said Act “to the wife who has no independent income sufficient to maintain herself”, refused the prayer of the wife for alimony pendente lite.

The High Court dismissed the case, holding the decision of the learned trial Judge as absolutely justified.[Somdatta Chatterjee nee Raychaudhari v. Anindya Chatterjee, 2019 SCC OnLine Cal 1627, decided on 11-06-2019]

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Tripura High Court: A Division Bench of Sanjay Karol, CJ and Arindam Lodh, J. dismissed an appeal filed under Section 19(1) of the Family Courts Act, 1984 against the order of the family Judge whereby the husband was directed to pay pendente lite maintenance of Rs 8000 per month to her wife.

Arijit Bhowmik, Advocate representing the appellant-husband submitted that though the appellant was an employee of ONGC having a salary of Rs 39, 649, however, he received only Rs 19,338 after various deductions. It was prayed that the maintenance allowance may be reduced. per contra, H.K. Bhowmik, Advocate appearing for the respondent-wife submitted that Rs 8,000 per month were minimum to lead a dignified life, which is one of the essential features of Article 21 of the Constitution.

On perusing the record, the High Court found that the wife was forced to stay at her parents’ house. it was noted that there were many bald allegations levelled against her such as she was not interested in having sex with the appellant-husband and that she threatened him to commit suicide. In the Court’s opinion, the allegations were not substantiated by cogent evidence. It was said: “these are the normal wear and tear of marital life and for this, the wife should not be forced to be separated from the appellant-husband. The wife is entitled to lead a life at part the standard of the husband.”

Having considered all the aspects, the court was not inclined to interfere with the order passed by the family Judge. Resultantly, the appeal was dismissed. [Debasish Chakraborty v. Soma Bhattacharjee, 2019 SCC OnLine Tri 159, decided on 29-05-2019]

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Delhi High Court: A Bench of Jyoti Singh and G.S. Sistani, JJ. dismissed an appeal filed against the order of the family court rejecting the appellant-wife’s application for grant of maintenance pendente lite under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1951.

The parties married to each-other in June 2012 and had been living separately since September of that year. The wife was living in Gurgaon and the husband was in Singapore. The husband sought a decree of nullity of marriage under Section 12(1)(a) and (c), pending which the wife filed the application under Section 24 claiming pendente lite maintenance of Rs 2.50 lakhs per month along with litigation expenses. The same was rejected by the family court. Aggrieved thereby, the wife filed the present appeal.

The High Court noted that the wife was well educated and earning a monthly salary of around Rs 1.25 lakhs. On the other hand, the husband was also at a senior position in a reputed company in Singapore and was earning about Rs 13 lakhs per month. Noting all the facts and discussing the law on the subject, the Court was of the view that the impugned order does not need interference. Observing that the cost of living as per the standards of the country where the husband is employed is to be considered, the Court stated, “We cannot agree with the contention of the appellant that merely because the respondent is earning in ‘dollars’ she is entitled to the maintenance claimed by converting his salary in dollars into Indian rupees. We agree with the respondent that his expenditure being in dollars, the salary being in dollars is a fact which cannot be overemphasized.”

Being satisfied that wife’s earnings were sufficient to maintain herself, it was stated, “The provisions of this section (Section 24) are not meant to equalize the income of the wife with that of the husband but are only to see that when divorce or other matrimonial proceedings are filed, either of the party should not suffer because of paucity of source of income and the maintenance is then granted to tie over the litigation expenses and to provide a comfortable life to the spouse. Where, however, both the spouses are earning and have a good salary, merely because there is some salary difference cannot be a reason for seeing maintenance.”

In light of the above discussion, the wife’s appeal was dismissed as being devoid of merits.[KN v. RG, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 7704, dated 12-02-2019]

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Punjab and Haryana High Court: This appeal was preferred before a 2-Judge Bench of Rakesh Kumar and  Anupinder Singh, JJ., against the judgment and decree passed by the Additional District Judge by which petition filed under Sections 11 and 12 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 by the respondent-husband for annulment of marriage with the appellant-wife was allowed.

During the pendency of this appeal, the appellant filed an application for maintenance pendente lite under Section 24 of the Act. The above application was allowed and thereby the respondent was supposed to pay Rs. 5,000 per month towards maintenance pendente lite. But since respondent failed to do so he was directed to pay entire arrears of maintenance pendente elite. The only contention made by respondent for non-payment of maintenance was that he did not have any money to give. High Court struck off respondent’s only defence leaving with the issue that if the respondent has no defence can the judgment and decree passed by the trial Court sustain or is to be set aside.

High Court struck off the defence of respondent on the ground of non-payment of maintenance, that he wanted annulment of marriage on the ground that appellant had already married twice and marriage with respondent was her third marriage with previous marriage subsisting. Thus, there remained no defence on record for annulment of marriage. Therefore, this appeal was allowed and judgment and decree passed by trial court was set aside. [Sonia v. Deepak, 2018 SCC OnLine P&H 2024, decided on 04-12-2018]

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Jharkhand High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Shree Chandrashekhar, J., dismissed a writ petition filed against the order of the trial court whereby her application for impleadment as a party, under Order 1 Rule 10(2), CPC was rejected.
The main issue that arose before the Court was whether a subsequent purchaser, pendente lite, is a necessary party in the partition suit.

The Court observed that the doctrine of lis pendence embodies a public policy that it is necessary for the administration of justice that the decision of a Court in a suit must bind all who claim an interest in the property and also those who derive title pendente lite. The Court referred to the judgment of Amit Kumar Shaw v. Farida Khatoon, (2005) 11 SCC 403 and observed that a transferee pendente lite can be impleaded as a necessary party only if his/her interest in the subject-matter of the suit is substantial and not merely peripheral.  While impleading a transferee pendente lite courts must be cautious and vigilant because impleadment of a stranger to a suit must be for a substantial cause. In this case, the petitioner did not purchase the land from one of the co-sharers of the property, rather she purchased land from her vendors who were parties to the pending suit.

The Court held that the petitioner has no right to equities and the trial judge has rightly dismissed her application for impleadment under Order 1 Rule 10 (2) CPC. The writ petition was dismissed by the Court. [Anita Soni v. Mina Devi,2018 SCC OnLine Jhar 1155, order dated 27-08-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Sangita Dhingra Sehgal and G.S. Sistani, JJ. dismissed an appeal filed by the husband against the award of maintenance pendente lite awarded to the wife by the family court.

The instant appeal was filed by the husband under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 assailing  the order passed by the family court where the appellant was directed to pay Rs 4500 per month as maintenance to the respondent-wife under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act (maintenance pendente lite)  from the date of filing of the application. The husband submitted that as he was a permanent resident of U.P., the Minimum Wages Act of Delhi would not be applicable to him.

The High Court perused Section 24 and noted that it empowers the Court to award maintenance pendente lite and litigation expenses to a party who has no independent source of income sufficient for his/her support during the pendency of proceedings. Reference was made to Jasbir Kaur Sehgal v. District Judge, (1997) 7 SCC 7. The Court observed that in the present case, the husband failed to produce any documentary proof with regard to his employment status and also his actual income; and by not disclosing his source of income the husband was trying to defeat the legitimate right of the wife to claim maintenance. Furthermore, the appellant could not be allowed to take benefit of non-disclosure of his income despite being bound in law to disclose it. Thus, the plea of the husband that Minimum Wages Act of U.P. is applicable to him doesn’t come to his rescue. The appeal was accordingly dismissed. [Vijay Kushwaha v. Chanchal,2018 SCC OnLine Del 10828, dated 24-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: A Division Bench comprising of M.M.S. Bedi and Anupinder Singh Grewal, JJ. allowed an application filed by the respondent-wife for maintenance pendente lite.

The appellant-husband had preferred an appeal against the dismissal of his divorce petition. The respondent-wife had filed the application under Section 24 of Hindu Marriage Act claiming maintenance pendent lite at the rate of Rs 20,000 per month. The appellant submitted that he was dismissed from the Army and was unemployed. Further, he had no source of income except what he got from the selling of milk.

The Court noted that there was no material to ascertain the income of the appellant and in such circumstances a bit of estimation was permissible. The appellant was an ex-army man and an able-bodied person. Even if he worked as an unskilled laborer, he was presumed to earn not less than Rs 15,000-20,000 per month. There was also one daughter born out of the wedlock. The Court held that the appellant cannot run away from his duty to maintain wife and daughter. In such circumstances, an amount of Rs 8,000 per month was found reasonable while awarding the maintenance pendente lite under Section 24. The application was thus allowed. [Jagdish Singh v. Sarabjit Kaur, 2018 SCC OnLine P&H 881, dated 03-07-2018]