Maintenance can't be denied on woman's ability to earn: Court

Maintenance can't be denied on woman's ability to earn: Court

"The capacity to earn cannot be equated with ability to maintain oneself," Additional Sessions Judge R K Jain said, rejecting an appeal of a man, who had contended that his estranged wife was qualified enough and could very well look after herself.

"The phrase 'unable to maintain herself' means that the woman is not able to maintain herself at the particular time, but it does not mean that she should go out to search work and maintain herself because man herein has neglected to do so," the court observed.

It said the Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, dealing with maintenance, provides for speedy remedy for supply of food, clothing and shelter to a deserted wife.

"If the husband has sufficient means and wife is unable to maintain herself, the wife is entitled to maintenance and interim maintenance also," the court said.

The judge dismissed an appeal of the man challenging a Metropolitan Magistrate's order directing him to pay Rs 4,500 to his estranged wife as monthly maintenance.

The man claimed that his wife used to earn Rs 10,500 per month by working at Old Secretariat here but due to her pregnancy she lost her job. He submitted that she was competent to get an employment again and maintain herself.

The court, however, did not find any merit in the man's contention, and said that he was supposed to provide maintenance to his estranged wife despite the fact that she was qualified enough to get an employment.

The woman, on her part, submitted that she was harassed by the man forcing her to leave the matrimonial home within three months of her marriage with him on April 20, 2006.

She had claimed that her husband, who earned between Rs 13,500 to 15,000 while working with Ministry of Defence, had refused to take care of her and her child.
The Metropolitan Magistrate had granted Rs 4,500 as maintenance for her.

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