Wife Being More Qualified Than Husband Not a Ground To Deny Maintenance: Delhi High Court

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Facts in Case

The Petitioner and the Respondent got married on 01.12.2014 according to Hindu rites and eventually, due to differences, the Respondent left the matrimonial home. The Respondent later filed an application to let her reside in the shared household without being subjected to violence by the Petitioner’s family members and for grant of compensation of Rs.50,000/-. Another application was also filed under Section 23 of the DV Act for maintenance of Rs.60,000/- per month which was initially declined but upon challenging that order before the learned Additional Sessions Judge, it was held that merely because the wife was qualified and had a potential for earning, it could not be a ground to reject her claim of maintenance. On remand, the learned Metropolitan Magistrate analyzed the bank statements of the Petitioner. The learned Metropolitan Magistrate analyzed the bank statement of the Petitioner, where he has failed to give a convincing explanation of various transactions being carried out in his account regularly. After perusing the material on record, the learned Metropolitan Magistrate directed the Petitioner to pay a sum of Rs.16, 500/- per month, from the date of the petition till the disposal of the case. It was this order which had been challenged in the present petition after the appeal before the Additional Sessions Judge.

Arguments presented before the Judge 

Mr. Gaurav Gupta, the learned counsel for Petitioner, contended that the Respondent had given contradictory statements in various forums and litigations between the same parties. He further stated that the Petitioner was a lot less qualified than the Respondent who was well capable of maintaining herself by earning a substantial amount. He further added that the Courts below erred in not going through the Income Tax Returns of the Petitioner and that the contention regarding the Petitioner’s income was only based on conjectures and surmises.

Decision

The High Court upheld the decision of Metropolitan Magistrate, as affirmed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge to provide Rs.16, 500/- as interim maintenance to the Respondent.

Analysis

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 The Petitioner could not give a satisfactory explanation regarding the timely transactions in his bank accounts. The Petitioner also did not deny possession of various valuable assets. The fact that the Respondent was more qualified than the Petitioner and that she had a well-paid job was no ground to deny maintenance to her as at present since she did not have a regular income. It could not be said that the findings of the Courts below were so perverse that it required any interference by the High Court under Section 482 CrPC. as reiterated by the Supreme Court in State of Kerala v. Puttumana Illath Jathavedan Namboodiri and State v. Manimaran. The learned Metropolitan Magistrate and the learned Additional Sessions Judge analyzed the facts and the law within the accurate scope. The judgments were well reasoned and the Courts below did not warrant any interference.

Click here for judgment

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