Best Judgments on Denial of Maintenance to Working Wife

Hari Har Raj Kalingarayar vs Aarti (Madras High Court)

This case starts from the petitioner being aggrieved by the order of the Ld. Family Court directing him to pay an amount of Rs. 55000 as monthly maintenance to his wife and 2 children. The Madras High Court looked into the fact that the respondent wife was drawing a salary of Rs. 35000/ month. The interim maintenance which was granted by the lower court was thus set aside by the High Court.

The primary question before the Court was whether sufficiently earning wife is entitled for a monthly maintenance as a matter of right.

After looking at the evidence on record, it was found by the Hon’ble Madras High Court that the respondent wife was not only earning well but was earning more than the husband. Thus the Madras High Court came to the conclusion that order of maintenance by the Trial Court was totally unsustainable.

Reliance was made to the case of Manokaran alias Ramamoorthy vs. M.Devaki AIR 2003 MADRAS 212 where it was held by the Madras High Court that Grant of maintenance to the wife working and earning more that her husband is improper and the same cannot be said that the wife was not having sufficient independent income.

Hence the court was not at all inclined to grant maintenance to the wife and held that provision of maintenance under section 125 CrPC was not a penal provision and has to be decided in the light of the financial capacity of the wife to maintain herself.

KN vs RG (Delhi High Court)

The Hon’ble Delhi High Court was again deciding on the issue of maintenance to a working wife in this case and came to the conclusion that the grant of maintenance will be denied on the ground that the appellant/wife was highly qualified and was working in a reputed MNC with a good salary.

Relying upon the Judgment of Rupali Gupta vs. Rajat Gupta, 234 (2016) DLT 693 the court declined interim maintenance to a wife who was a qualified Chartered Accountant and was in profession since 2003. Also in the case of Damanreet Kaur vs. Indermeet Juneja (2013) 1 JCC 306, Hon’ble Delhi High Court upheld the order of the trial court where the wife declined maintenance under the domestic Violence Act on the ground that she was well qualified and had capacity to work and had been actually working in the past.

The wife in this case was earning sufficient enough to maintain herself and give herself the required comforts of life and was also enjoying the same luxuries of life which she was enjoying while being married. The court was of the opinion that when a spouse is qualified and has the capacity to earn and maintain herself, then in that case maintenance cannot be granted.

The court thus came to the conclusion that as the husband and wife were both earning and had a good salary, merely because there is some salary difference among them, it cannot be a reason for seeking maintenance by the wife.

Biswajit Murmu & Anr vs The State of West Bengal (Calcutta High Court)

In this case maintenance was denied to wife as both the husband as well as wife were working as teachers in Government School and the wife was drawing a salary of Rs.22,358 per month. The Calcutta High Court came to the conclusion that seeking maintenance in such a case was an abuse of process of court.

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