High Court denies monthly compensation to a woman making Rs80,000 a month
NEW DELHI; A woman earning sufficient income is not entitled to maintenance from her estranged husband, the Delhi high court has ruled. The observation came while the high court set aside a family court’s order granting Rs7,500 monthly maintenance in a matrimonial dispute to a woman earning Rs80,000 a month.
According to a Supreme Court ruling, a woman is entitled to maintenance if her independent income is insufficient to maintain the standard of living she was accustomed to while living with her husband.
The Delhi high court accepted the woman’s Rs80,000 monthly income as sufficient for self-maintenance. “Where a wife has no income or is without any support for maintaining herself, the court has to pass an order considering the income and living status of the husband. However, where the wife and husband both are earning and having good salary, an order is not required,” Justice S N Dhingra said while allowing the aggrieved husband’s petition.
The husband, Satish Kumar (name changed), had contended that the family court wrongly granted maintenance to his wife Sunita (name changed) despite the fact that her income was sufficient for self-maintenance and she did not have any other responsibility. The court accepted Sunita’s salary slip of February 2007 that shows her gross monthly salary as Rs80,000.
“A person who is earning this much of salary can very well maintain herself with such a standard which may be envy of many and under no stretch of imagination it can be said that the income earned by her was not enough to maintain herself,” the HC observed.
Earlier, while dealing with a similar dispute, the Supreme Court had ruled that a woman is entitled to claim maintenance from her husband if her independent income or earnings as a single woman are “insufficient to maintain the standard of living she was accustomed to whilst living with her husband”.
A deserted wife or divorced woman need not be reduced to a destitute state before filing for maintenance for herself and her children under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), an apex court bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Aftab Alam had observed.
Explaining the phrase “unable to maintain herself”, the apex court said: “...it would mean the means available to the deserted wife while she was living with her husband and not the efforts made by her after the desertion”.
This expression, the judges said, does not imply that the wife should be destitute before she can apply for maintenance.
“The test is whether the wife is in a position to maintain her in the way she was used to in the place of her husband,” the apex court had said. Elaborating it by an example, the apex court had said “where a wife was surviving by begging, it would not amount to her ability to maintain herself. It can also not be said that the wife has been capable of earning but she was not making an effort to earn. Whether the deserted wife was unable to maintain herself or not has to be decided on the basis of the material placed on record”.
6 months ago