Wife is entitled to maintenance if the husband has sufficient means to provide for the same: Madras High Court

If the wife is unable to maintain herself with her regular income and the husband has sufficient wealth and income, the wife is entitled to maintenance from her husband. A single judge bench of Justice P Velmurugan, while adjudicating the matter in Dr T Subash v. Amsa; [Crl.M.P.No.15222 of 2019], dealt with the issue of maintenance to wife despite paying her alimony.

The case of the respondent/wife is that the marriage between the petitioner and the respondent was solemnized on 06.06.1999 as per the Hindu rites and customs at Murugan Temple, Vayaloor, Trichy. Out of their wedlock, they had no issue. The petitioner herein demanded dowry, property, medical higher education, money to build a Clinic and subjected her to cruelty and the respondent is living separately without any support, as her parents passed away and living in a rental house with much difficulty and could not maintain herself. The petitioner herein without getting divorce from the respondent, has got married again, begotten children, constructed a new house, working as ENT Doctor in Dharmapuri Government Hospital and also running a Private Clinic. The respondent living separately for the past 15 years. The petitioner is having properties worth about Rs.2 crores and working as a Government Doctor and earns more than Rs.70,000/- per month, as salary, in addition to that rental income and he has got sufficient means. The respondent requires a sum of Rs.30,000/- per month for maintenance and therefore, she filed maintenance case before the Family Court.

The case of the petitioner/husband is that the marriage and reception expenses were borne out only by the petitioner’s parents. After marriage, petitioner pursued his course as House Surgeon at Mysore JSS Medical College and took training at Royapettah Hospital, Chennai and took up higher studies at Ramachandra Medical College. The marriage was not at all consummated. The educational expenses of the petitioner was borne out by the petitioner’s father only. There was no necessity to open a Clinic at that time and petitioner had sufficient property to begin a Clinic. In order to maintain and save their family dignity, compromise was arrived in the petition for divorce filed by the respondent. Learned counsel also submitted that; the respondent filed a divorce petition and also maintenance case in which the parties arrived at settlement and two properties were given to the respondent/wife and also Rs.3 lakhs given to her as permanent alimony. Therefore, as per law, once the wife obtained a permanent alimony, she is not entitled to get any maintenance under Section 125 of Cr.P.C., and the respondent/wife also admitted the same.

The Court upon considering the aforesaid facts stated that; “Even though the respondent admitted that she received only Rs.3 lakhs by way of cash in the year 2003, as on date, the petitioner is not able to substantiate that the respondent has got sufficient means to maintain herself. Therefore, as per Section 125 of Cr.P.C., when the wife unable to maintain herself and husband has got sufficient means, wife is entitled to get maintenance.”

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