The Delhi High Court has ruled that during divorce proceedings, both the husband and the wife need to submit detailed affidavits of their earnings, assets, and expenses at the time of filing divorce or maintenance petitions.
With this ruling, any attempt to hide assets or income details at the time of divorce or maintenance proceedings could push one into legal complications and great difficulties.
Justice J R Midha directed that, “the detailed affidavit, along with copies of relevant documents, have to be submitted by both parties at the time of divorce proceedings so that maintenance orders can be passed by courts within 60 days of the divorce being initiated on the basis of “true income”.
The court held that, “Maintenance is not merely a legal right, it is part and parcel of basic human rights. For weaker sections, it is a problem in the sense that their very survival rests on the maintenance,” the court stated, adding that “lengthy trial in matrimonial proceedings is uncalled for and contrary to the spirit of the Hindu Marriage Act”.
The court asked Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain to take up the issue with the law ministry so as to ensure that relevant legal provisions can be amended. When completed, this would pave the way for the new provision requiring mandatory affidavits.
The HC also asked all family courts to make sure that the affidavits are properly filled. It said that these directions were “necessitated because the parties in the matrimonial litigation do not disclose their true income and the claims of maintenance are dragged up to two years and the court, finding it difficult to determine the true income, tends to fix maintenance by drawing presumptions”.
The court issued another directive adding that, “the aforesaid procedure be followed in all cases relating to maintenance, including cases under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, Special Marriage Act, 1954, The Indian Divorce Act, 1869 as well as Section 125 CrPC”.