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Husband's paying capacity important while fixing maintenance: Court

The plea of a mentally unstable woman, seeking interim maintenance from her estranged husband in a domestic violence case, has been rejected by a Delhi court which noted that the man had a "meagre salary" and after providing for basic needs, he was left with "almost nothing".



New Delhi: The plea of a mentally unstable woman, seeking interim maintenance from her estranged husband in a domestic violence case, has been rejected by a Delhi court which noted that the man had a "meagre salary" and after providing for basic needs, he was left with "almost nothing".

Additional Sessions Judge Amit Bansal upheld magisterial court's order denying the interim maintenance to the woman, on the ground of financial status of the husband, who was earning merely Rs 4,500 per month and was already maintaining his widowed mother and mentally unstable child.

The judge, while noting that the man had to spend Rs 1,300 monthly for medical care of his mother and mentally unstable son, besides other miscellaneous expenses including power, water, etc., said, "It is evident that the husband is earning a meager salary and all of it is spent upon the above said heads of expenditure.

"The payment capacity of the husband and his liabilities have also to be considered while fixing the maintenance...It seems that after providing for minimum basic necessities and liabilities, he is left with practically almost nothing."

The court, while dismissing the appeal of the woman against the trial court order, also noted that she could not prove that the salary proof of her husband was false or that he had no such liabilities.

The court, however, took exception to the trial court's observation that it was "only a moral duty" of her husband to provide her maintenance.

"The trial court has committed an error of law by mentioning that it was only a moral duty of a husband to provide maintenance to his wife and children, as it is the legal duty of the husband...," the judge said.

While denying maintenance to the woman, the court accepted the husband's contention that the woman owned a property which could fetch her sufficient rent to maintain herself.

"This court cannot be oblivious of the fact that the appellant (woman) is owning a residential property in Delhi and if the said property is given on rent, she can earn sufficient income to provide for herself.

"In this regard, it seems that the trial court rightly came to the conclusion that the father of the woman could have let out the property. The woman has failed to show any substantial or reasonable cause as to why the said property is lying vacant," it said, noting that the woman was mentally unstable.

The woman, through her father, had filed an appeal against the trial court order seeking maintenance on the ground that she was mentally ill and required continuous support from the husband, who had thrown her out of the matrimonial house a few years after their marriage in 1998 for bringing insufficient dowry.

It contended that the father of the woman was unable to support her for her day-to-day needs, including medical and daily care.

The husband, however, denied all the allegations made in the woman's plea and contended that he was not earning well and had to support his aged mother and his minor son.  

From Zee News

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