Maintenance Case- Some Guess Work by Court about Income of Spouses is Permissible- Delhi HC

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 November 21, 2018

In this recent case, the High Court of Delhi while dismissing husband’s challenge to quantum of maintenance awarded to the wife, observed that spouses in the proceedings for maintenance do not truthfully disclose their true income and therefore some guess work on the part of the Court is permissible.

Case name: Bhuvneshwar Sachdeva v. Kavita Sachdeva

In the case, the Appellant husband has challenged order passed by the Family Court, whereby the Court allowed the Application filed by the respondent wife seeking maintenance under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 was allowed. The Family Court fixed maintenance @15,000/- per month.

The Appellant challenged the aforesaid order mainly on the ground that the respondent wife has been working and her income has not been considered while fixing the maintenance. The other contention of Appellant was that he is earning only Rs. 10000/- per month.

Bench’s Verdict

  • While pronouncing its verdict, the Delhi High Court made reference to Supreme Court’s verdict in the case of Jasbir Kaur Sehgal (Smt.) v. District Judge, Dehradun and Ors.[1], wherein the Court recognized the fact that spouses in the proceedings for maintenance do not truthfully disclose their true income and therefore some guess work on the part of the Court is permissible. Further the Supreme Court has also observed that “considering the diverse claims made by the parties one inflating the income and the other suppressing an element of conjecture and guess work does enter for arriving at the income of the husband. It cannot be done by any mathematical precision”.
  • The Court was of the view that in family matters, there is a tendency of spouses not to disclose their correct and true income and the present case was no different.
  • In view of the facts of the case, the Court noted that it is not expected that a person who is carrying on a business, would be earning Rs.10,000/- per month which is even below the minimum wages for a skilled worker. It is also not believable that the appellant who is maintaining a new car and has raised a loan is taking the help of his parents to make the payment of installments.
  • With reference to employment of respondent wife, the Court was of the view that no evidence of any nature had been placed on record which would support the plea of the appellant.

In view of the aforesaid observations, the Delhi High Court dismissed the appeal and said there was no infirmity in the quantum of maintenance awarded to the wife by the Family Court.

The High Court’s order in the case can be accessed here.

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[1] (1997) 7 SCC 7