Interim Maintenance to Working wife

A Delhi court has said that even a working wife is entitled to interim maintenance from her estranged husband irrespective of differences in their earnings.

The court made the observation while awarding Rs.35,000 interim maintenance to a woman who blamed her husband of forcing her to perform unnatural sex and depriving her of proper diet for having brought inferior quality gifts for his family.

Rejecting the contention that only a woman who is on the verge of starvation and destitution is entitled for interim maintenance, the court said the amount of maintenance should be such that the wife is able to live in reasonable comfort considering the status and lifestyle she had while living with her husband.

In a recent judgment, Metropolitan Magistrate Monika Saroha said: “It is not only to prevent destitution and vagrancy of the complainant (woman) that interim maintenance is awarded, but also to be awarded where the wife has become used to a certain standard of living by virtue of her marriage with a man of means so she should not be suddenly deprived of the said luxuries to which she has become used to.”

The court was hearing the plea of a woman, a Delhi resident, seeking interim maintenance from her estranged husband in a domestic violence case.

She had alleged that she was treated with verbal abuses and emotional violence in various ways since her marriage.

The court also held that prima-facie it was satisfied that the woman was treated with cruelty at her matrimonial home and deserved to be maintained by her husband and awarded Rs.35,000 monthly interim maintenance to her.

“Interim maintenance is also awarded to ensure that during the pendency of the proceedings, the wife is able to maintain the same standard of living which she was used to, in her matrimonial house because of the earning of the husband,” the court said.

In the income affidavits, both the husband and the wife had declared their earnings as Rs.1.5 lakh per month and Rs.42,000 per month, respectively.

Describing his wife’s allegations as completely false, the husband said it was rather his wife who tortured and humiliated him and his family by raising illegal demands and had left the matrimonial home on her own instead of under any pressure from anyone of his family.