If there is an increased cost of living and passage of time, they can act as grounds to enhance maintenance under Special Marriage Act: Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court under Justice M Nagaprasanna in Vineetha Thomas v. SQD LDR Dr Praveen Kumar Borushetty (Writ Petition No. 16949 of 2021) “time passing” and “cost of living” are legitimate reasons to be taken into account as altered circumstances for boosting the maintenance amount provided to the wife under the Special Marriage Act.


The petitioner gets married to the respondent on 12.11.2010 and got their marriage registered under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 (‘the Act’ for short). On their relationship turning sore, the parties are before the Family Court. The petitioner-wife has filed M.C.No.824 of 2012, seeking restitution of conjugal rights and the respondent-husband has filed M.C.No.1256 of 2012, seeking annulment of marriage. The petitioner comes up with another application in I.A.VII seeking enhancement of maintenance under Section 37 of the Act, on the ground that there has been changed circumstances and cost of living has also increased. The learned Judge declines to accept the application on the ground that the petitioner has not pleaded any changed circumstances, which has forced her to seek enhancement of maintenance or modification of the earlier order and has not produced any documentary evidence to show that she is in need of money in addition to the maintenance already granted to her. Merely because the husband earns well, it is not a right for the wife to claim more maintenance, is the reason rendered by the concerned Court to decline acceptance of the application. The rejection of the application is what drives the petitioner to this Court in the subject petition.


Allowing the writ petition the court said that “In the light of the judgment rendered by the Apex Court (supra), it cannot be said that the petitioner was not entitled for enhancement in maintenance. The earning of the husband was not in dispute, as the Court records that merely because the husband earns Rs.1.5 lakhs to Rs.2.00 lakhs a month, enhancement of maintenance cannot be granted. Therefore, the reason rendered by the concerned Court is on the face of it, is erroneous. In the light of the judgment of the Apex Court and the facts obtaining in the case at hand, I deem it appropriate to enhance the maintenance to the wife from Rs.10,000/- to Rs.20,000/- a month, from the date of filing of the application before the concerned Court.”

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