Court rejects qualified woman's plea for maintenance

Court rejects qualified woman's plea for maintenance

Refusing to grant maintenance to a highly qualified woman, a Mumbai family court has held that she cannot be permitted to sit idle and put her burden on the husband for demanding alimony during pendency of a matrimonial petition.

Section 24 of Hindu Marriage Act is not meant for creating an army of such persons who would be sitting idle waiting for a 'dole' to be awarded by her husband who has got a grievance against her and moved the court for seeking relief against her, said Dr Laxmi P Rao, Principal Judge of Family Court here.

"In view thereof I hold that the wife is not entitled for interim maintenance. At this stage she also cannot ask for permanent maintenance which can be claimed only at the end of the trial," the Judge ruled while rejecting her application.

The respondent-wife had filed an application claiming permanent alimony of Rs 25,000 per month from husband and the same amount towards interim maintenance u/s 24 of the Act.

It was her case that her husband, a qualified engineer, has filed a divorce petition. The applicant said she was forced to leave her job in August 2013 and since then she is not having any source of income. She is totally dependent on the mercy of her parents and brother. Her husband is working in a reputed company drawing a monthly salary of Rs 45,000.

The husband, while opposing wife's application for maintenance, pleaded that he had never objected to the wife being a working lady. He said she had left the matrimonial home on December 8, 2012, on her own accord. Hence he is not responsible to maintain her.

Moreover, he claimed, she is employed and earns a salary which is sufficient for her maintenance. She was earlier employed as a senior HR Executive with a reputed firm in Thane and later with another company in the same position in suburban Andheri.

"Inspite of several efforts made by him to make her join him at the matrimonial home, she has not agreed. She is deliberately not producing her employment details. Hence she may be directed to produce her pay slip," he pleaded.

The court held that the wife was not entitled to claim maintenance firstly because she has earlier filed the petition under section 125 of Cr.P.C. and secondly because she has not approached the court for maintenance from the time of separation in December 2012 till March 2015.

Thirdly, she has not relied upon any of employment documents to show that she is no more in service and lastly she is a highly qualified lady and is further persuing her MBA, the judge noted in the judgement on May 30.

The judge relied upon a Madhya Pradesh High Court judgement which had held that a spouse, who has capacity of earning but chooses to remain idle, should not be permitted to saddle other spouse with his or her expenditure.

The judge also held that a spouse who is well qualified to get service immediately with less efforts, is not expected to remain idle to squeeze out the other spouse by relieving him of his or her own purse by a cut in the nature of pendente lite (pending litigation) alimony.

"The law does not expect the increasing number of such idle persons who by remaining in the arena of legal battles, try to squeeze out the adversary by implementing provisions of law suitable to their purpose," the judgement further said.

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