Woman can't be forced to work when taking care of child

A woman cannot be forced to work when she has to take care of her minor child and her husband cannot be allowed to "make merry", a court here has observed while enhancing the maintenance amount for a child to Rs 35,000 from Rs 10,000 per month.

The stern message for the estranged husband came from Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Goel, who took note of the fact that the woman, despite being well-qualified, had to quit her lucrative job to take care of her son, a premature baby who needed extensive care during early childhood.

The court passed the directions while hearing the woman's appeal against a trial court order dismissing her plea seeking enhancement of the interim maintenance paid by her husband for their child, which was Rs 10,000 per month.

"The appellant (woman) cannot be forced to work when she has to take care of her minor child and to allow the husband to make merry. Even though the wife is well-qualified, she has to settle between her earnings, desires, needs and necessities to take care of her child. She cannot be allowed to become a machine for 24 hours.

"The amount of interim maintenance of the minor child is enhanced from Rs 10,000 to Rs 35,000 per month.... The amount of arrears be cleared by father within two months," the court said in its order.

It further said the man, who worked at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), could not be allowed to say that he was not in a position to earn more or that most of the amount was required for his own purposes.

"The couple was blessed with a minor child, which is also the liability of the husband, and he should take care of the minor child and shoulder the responsibility of his child," the court said.

During the proceedings, the counsel for the wife told the court that she had to resign from her job at the Royal Bank of Scotland since it was not possible for her to do night duties due to her child's medical conditions.

"The arguments of the appellant have force and considering the condition of the minor child, it can be presumed that he requires constant consideration of his mother and in these circumstances, the appellant will have to face problems. If she chooses to work, she will have to do night duties also. Though it is not disputed that she is well qualified and capable to work, but her circumstances cannot be ignored," the court observed.

It further said the welfare of a minor child was the paramount purpose for both parents and he or she could not be thrown at the mercy of others by the father.

"The minor child is entitled to some reasonable maintenance amount for leading a decent, dignified life. The welfare of a minor child is the paramount purpose for both parents and the minor child cannot be thrown at the mercy of others by the father. In the present case, the minor child has been awarded an interim maintenance of a meagre amount of Rs 10,000 per month, who is in the custody of the wife.

"In the present state of affairs, maintenance of Rs 10,000 is not on the higher side, considering the qualification and financial status of the respondent, who is a man of means and a qualified person. The husband is duty-bound to support his wife as well as child and is required to use all his potential for his earning," the court said.

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