Interim Maintenance Denied to Wife in a DV case

In a recent domestic violence case filed by the wife against the husband an interim relief of maintainance was denied by the court on following facts:

Wife Allegations:

Husband and his family used to taunt the wife for dowry and demand dowry. they used to treat wife with cruelty and they forced her to was the utensils as a part of cruelty. During pregnancy also they used to treat the wife with cruelty. On one occassion he used to press the neck of the wife and attempted to kill her for which she filed a NC in police station wherein the husband apologised and promised not to repeat the act. The husband used to lock the wife in a room. He took away all the streedhan article and did not took care of the wife during 2nd pregnancy.

Husband Reply

The husband denied all allegations of domestic violence and contended that the wife was in adulterous relationship and that is the reason she filed false complaints. She is short tempered even her sister has filed a complaint/FIR against her. She did not replied to the legal notice in which the husband contended adulterous relationship.

Court Observation

The photos and documents produced by the respondent is not the proof of adultery but same is true that the complainant remained mum on issuance of legal notice by the husband alleging adultery which is not the conduct expected from a prudent person.

She has suppressed the extramarital affair and also she has not produced any convincing material to prove domestic violence at a prima facie level

If wife backs out from the settlement. What you can do?

Now the cases are settled between the Husband and wife and settlement terms are signed and you are ready to live a Free Life.

Now what happens is that you gave some money or streedhan articles at the first motion of divorce

But wife does not turn up for doing formality at the second motion of divorce.

What you can do?

Obviously. First you have to send her the legal notice and 2nd motion documents to show that you are ready and willing to do the 2nd motion process.

The other thing you need to do if she does not turns up even after the legal notice is to file the contempt case in the High Court.

The High court will also try to settle out the dispute. Even if she does not agree for the second motion making frivlous excuses then the contempt proceedings are to be initiated in such cases.

As she has breached the undertaking given to the court that

Here is the statement

“We were married to each other on 07.09.2013 in New Delhi at Ocean Pearl Chattarpur according to Hindu Rites and ceremonies. No child was born out of this wedlock. We have been living separately since 1st week of April 2014 on account of temperamental differences and mental incompatibility. We have not resumed cohabitation since then. With the intervention of well wishers and family friends we have decided to dissolve our marriage by divorce by mutual consent. We have settled all our claims and disputes amicably vide MOU dated 30.04.2015 which is Ex. P-1 and as per para 9 to 11 of the petition which is Ex. P-2 in a total settlement amount of Rs 34,00,000/- (Rupees Thirty Four Lacs) as full and final settlement towards all claims of petitioner no. 1/wife. Out of the total settled amount a sum of Rs.10,00,000/- (Rupees Ten Lacs) has already been transferred by petitioner no. 2 in the account of petitioner no. 1/wife. Out of the remaining amount of Rs 24,00,000/- (Rupees Twenty Four Lacs ) a sum of Rs 10,00,000/-

Respondent had clearly given an undertaking to the Court when the joint statement was recorded on 02.05.2015. It was stated that the claims and disputes were settled between the parties amicably. The modalities of settlement were drawn up in an MOU and the said MOU was exhibited during the joint statement. As a part of the undertaking, the Respondent had agreed to accept a sum of Rs. 34 Lakhs towards full and final settlement, though in three different tranches and undertook to file a petition for divorce by mutual consent (first motion and second motion). Admittedly the Respondent has accepted Rs. 20 Lakhs out of the sum of Rs. 34 Lakhs but has not come forward for the second motion and has neither returned the sum of Rs. 20 Lakhs which were payable as a part of the overall settlement.

Court has held that wife has undertaken that they had settled their dispute vide MOU and thereafter the court had passed an order of first motion.

Result: Convicted for Contempt

Judgement Link:

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.

Maintenance Reduced to 50% by Hon’ble Supreme Court this is how?

The Hon’ble Supreme court in this judgement of Bhushan Kumar has reduced the maintenance on behalf of husband to 50% The husband was earning around Rs. 34000/-

He argued that only Rs. 9000/- is left for him and trial court has put up maintenance of Rs. 10000/-

The Hon’ble Supreme court reduced the maintenance to Rs. 5000/- citing husband has home loan emi to pay.

Modification of Maintenance under 25(2) DV ACT

Article on Section 25(2) of The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005

Section 25(2) of The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 provides for alteration, modification or revocation of maintenance if there is a change in circumstances so warrant. Section 25(2) can be used if you are ordered to pay maintenance under the Domestic Violence Act.

The Section states:

“If the Magistrate, on receipt of an application from the aggrieved person or the respondent, is satisfied that there is a change in the circumstances requiring alteration, modification or revocation of any order made under this Act, he may, for reasons to be recorded in writing pass such order, as he may deem appropriate.”

This means that if there is a change of circumstances of the respondent, like you have lost your job, your income has been reduced, if you are a businessman you have faced huge losses due to exceptional situations like the most recent Covid-19 and you are unable to pay the pre-decided amount of maintenance, you can file an application in the concerned court for modification/ reduction or cancellation of maintenance.

The parties may move the application in the Apex court for alteration, modification or cancellation of the order passed by the lower court. The parties must have relevant grounds and evidence to take favourable orders under Section 25(2) of The DV Act i.e., to alter, modify and revoke the previous order of the lower court.

In K. Shiva kumar vs. K. Parvathi passed by High court of Karnataka in 2014, where the Hon’ble court gave directions to the Trial court to reconsider the application under Section 125 of CrPC and restore the matter under the Trial court.

There are several other judgments of the High court in which the Hon’ble High Court gave directions to the trial court to reconsider the facts and evidences and alter, modify and revoke the past order.

In Kamlesh Kumar Tiwari vs. Kamini Tiwari the application of petitioner seeking clarification got rejected by the Supreme court as it was evident from the memo of appeal of the first round of litigation and the order of appellate court, the petitioner has specifically taken a plea of ouster from residence and said plea was considered by the appellate court and rejected. Therefore, there are no grounds to review the petition so the petition has been dismissed.   

There are several other judgments as well which has been dismissed by the courts due to lack of relevant evidence from the side of the parties. For example Nisha Anna Saji vs. Anil Thomas, Amalraj Petitioner vs. Kanikkai Meri, etc.

Enhancement of Maintenance under DV act in favor of wife

Enhancement of Maintenance under DV act in favor of wife

The enhancement of maintenance under the domestic violence Act is entertained under Section 25 of the domestic violence act, 2005.

Section 25(2) is the particular section that deals with the enhancement of maintenance under the Act.

The only requirement under section 25(2) is change in circumstances for enhancement of maintainance.

What are change in circumstances

Enhancement in maintenance for wife-Change in circumstances

Gen really the maintenance amount is awarded keeping in mind the status enjoyed by husband family.

The court grants maintenance under the DV act in such a way that the maintenance granted to the wife is neither too luxurious nor too penurious.

If a wife is able to show that the status of the family of a husband has increased significantly then she is entitled to enhancement of maintenance.

As held in Bhagwan Dutt Vs. Kamla Devi

Image result for enhancement of maintenance

Husband earning more

if the husband starts earning more then that also leads to change in circumstances and enhancement of maintenance.

The plain import of Sub-section (1) of Section 127 is that a provision is made therein for an increase or decrease of the allowance consequent on a change in the circumstance of either party at the time of application for alteration.

Here, the allegation is that the source of income of the husband had increased. Therefore, the proper course to be adopted in this case is to remit the matter to the Magistrate for inquiry afresh on the petition filed by the petitioner.

As held in Meenakshi Ammal

In Punn Deb 51 Cr Lj 961 In domestic relation law change of circumstances includes post order circumstances which would include post order circumstances which justify the need of modification of the order.

By-: Adv. Nitish Banka