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Maintenance can’t be rejected due to mere presence of wife’s job: High Court of Delhi

When a case of marital discord is brought before the court and the suit has been filed for calculation of maintenance to be given by the husband to the wife, the contention that the wife is already employed cannot be used to deny her maintenance. This was decided in the case of Pooja v. Sanjay Chopra [CRL.M.C. 1992/2020 & Crl.M.A. 14264/2020] in the High Court of Delhi by single bench consisting of Hon’ble Judge Suresh Kumar Kait.

The background of the case is that the parties got married as per Hindu Rites. It was a second marriage for both the parties. However, due temperamental differences, the parties started living separately within three months of their marriage the wife filed a complaint against the husband and his family alleging domestic violence. In proceedings under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the wife filed an application seeking interim maintenance and the husband was directed to pay interim maintenance @Rs.25,000/- per month. The husband filed an application before the Metropolitan Magistrate and placed his income affidavit, income tax returns and bank statement on record and taking the said documents into consideration, the Metropolitan Magistrate dismissed the application of wife for interim maintenance. In the appeal filed before the court of Sessions, it was observed that husband is earning Rs.30,000/- per month and thereby, fixed interim maintenance @Rs.7,500/- per month for the wife, which she claims to be on the lower side.

In this court, the wife has pleaded that the Appellate Court has failed to take into consideration the fact that wife is only 9th class pass and was then jobless and hence, unable to maintain herself and her son and that she lost her job recently. On the other hand, husband has pleaded that the wife has left the matrimonial home of her own will and has roped him in various false and baseless cases. He has submitted that it is an admitted fact that the wife studied till class 9th, but as per her own statement she is earning Rs.6,000/- per month. and her assertion that she has to spend Rs.3,000/- for day care of the son is also ruled out, as she herself has admitted that she is unemployed.

The court relied upon the judgement of Supreme court in in Bhuwan Mohan Singh Vs. Meena (2015) 6 SCC 353 has observed as under:- “Be it ingeminated that Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (for short “the Code”) was conceived to ameliorate the agony, anguish, financial suffering of a woman who left her matrimonial home for the reasons provided in the provision so that some suitable arrangements can be made by the court and she can sustain herself and also her children if they are with her.”

The court further noted that that there is nothing on record to show that she had been working on regular basis nor any intention has been established to show that she was not willing to work further. Keeping this view in mind coupled with the fact that the wife had studied only up to class 9th, it said that the Appellate Court had rightly rejected the finding returned by the Metropolitan Magistrate that the wife has failed to disclose her employment or that she has not made efforts for reemployment.

Therefore the court stated “I find that the Appellate Court has rightly held that the wife is dependent upon husband and he is liable to pay interim maintenance to the wife and is entitled to maintenance @Rs.10,000/- p.m.”

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