New Delhi: A man projects himself like a "prince" while entering into wedlock but turns a "pauper" when it comes to paying maintenance to his estranged wife, a Delhi court has observed.
The court stated this while enhancing the maintenance from Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 per month to be given by the husband to his wife and their three school-going kids.
"It is a cruel truth that when any able-bodied man wants to enter into any wedlock, he projects himself as if he was a 'prince' but when it comes to making any payment towards the maintenance, he projects himself nothing more than a 'pauper'," Additional Sessions Judge Manoj Jain said.
The order came on an appeal filed by the woman against a magisterial court's interim order directing the man to pay a monthly maintenance of Rs 3,000 to their children only.
The woman had approached the sessions court seeking maintenance for herself also after the magisterial court had declined to direct the man to pay any amount to her on the ground that she herself was a working woman and her husband was barely able to sustain himself.
The sessions court, in its order directing the man to pay Rs 5,000 monthly as maintenance to his estranged wife and her three kids, said cost of living in a metropolitan city like Delhi was "soaring" and also considered that the man had not paid anything for his children even after the order was passed by the magisterial court in June.
"This court cannot be oblivious of the fact that cost of living in an expensive metropolitan city like Delhi is soaring with every passing day. One is required to pay through the nose on most of the occasions," the judge said.
"It's his (man) legal as well as moral obligation to ensure that his children go to school and are well brought up," the court noted, adding, "merely because wife is trying to make her both ends meet for self and for her school-going children, husband cannot be granted any exoneration from his liability."
The sessions court also observed that the man had neither given details of his bank accounts nor any record of loan he has taken from his employer where he claimed to be working as a daily wage worker.
"There is extensive tendency to downplay or hide the actual income by a male partner," it said, adding, "court has no magic wand and, therefore, on some occasions, potential earning capacity is to be inferred by the court keeping in mind the overall status and style of living of the parties."
"Conduct of the parties is also one such consideration. A party who dares to conceal vital facts makes things difficult for itself," the judge noted.
The court also refused to agree with the contention of the man that he earns Rs 200 only on daily basis while working as a daily wager at a jewellery shop here.
"Respondent (man) does not seem to be an unskilled worker. His work profile rather shows that he is a skilled person. Moreover, even if, he is assumed as casual worker since he is found employed in a shop and establishment, his minimum wages would be in the vicinity of Rs 8,000 per month and not Rs 6,000 per month as per the notification of Labour Department of Delhi government," it said.