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Bombay High Court: Mangesh S. Patil, J., in the present application directed the husband to pay an amount of Rs 10,000 towards alimony pendente lite under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

Petitioner-wife has impugned the order passed by the Family Court, Judge wherein her application was rejected in which she sought interim alimony under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 in a divorce proceeding filed by the respondent-husband under Section 13(i–a) of that Act.

Petitioner submitted that she was unable to maintain herself since the time she and her husband separated. She was even unable to work due to the psychological pressure and harassment meted out to her by the respondent.

As against this, the respondent is a Medical Officer earning around Rs 60,000 to Rs 65,000 salary. No-one is dependent on him and therefore, she claimed interim maintenance at the rate of Rs 15,000 per month and also claimed Rs 200 for rickshaw fare for attending the Court for each date and Rs 25,000 for engaging Advocate.

Analysis and Decision

Bench stated that as far as the right of a wife, who is capable of earning, to claim alimony is concerned, Supreme Court in the decision of Rajnesh v. Neha,2020 SCC OnLine SC 903, considered it in clause (c) of Part III under the head of ‘Criteria for determining the quantum of maintenance’.

Court in view of the above concluded that even if the petitioner in the matter in hand is a medical practitioner and was earning something for her livelihood, the same cannot be a ground to refuse alimony to her under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

Quantum of Maintenance

Bench observed that though the petitioner had produced her Income tax Returns, respondent did not reciprocate the gesture. Supreme Court’s decision in Rajnesh v. Neha, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 903, laid down several guidelines requiring both the parties to make several disclosures in the form of affidavits inter alia touching the income aspect as well. Conspicuously, in that matter, the Supreme Court had directed the husband to produce Income Tax returns before passing the order for granting interim maintenance.

Consequently, without indulging into further discussion, Court held that the failure of the respondent to come with disclosure as to his own income and taking into consideration all the aforementioned facts and circumstances and bearing in mind the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Rajnesh v. Neha, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 903 and resorting to inevitable guesswork, it would be just and proper to award interim maintenance to the petitioner at the rate of Rs 10,000 per month.

Along with the above direction of interim maintenance respondent shall pay all the arrears up to date to her within 12 weeks from the date of this judgment.

In view of the above discussion, the petition was partly allowed. [Arpana Vijay Manore v. Dr Vijay Tukaram Manore, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 3925, decided on 09-12-2020]


Advocates who appeared for the matter:

B.R. Warma, Advocate holding for Shrirang B. Varma, Advocate for the petitioner

A.M. Gholap, Advocate for the respondent