No maintenance for Wife who deserts Husband without a just cause

Bombay High Court observes that a wife who deserts her husband without any just or sufficient cause is not entitled to maintenance. The HC cited a case involving an Aurangabad couple.

Bombay High Court observes that a wife who deserts her husband without any just or sufficient cause is not entitled to maintenance. The court’s observation came in the awake of a case involving a marriage dispute between a couple

The court tied the knot in April 2003. According to MIlind Joshi, an advocate representing the husband, the woman had abandoned his client just one and a half year after marriage without even the slightest of provocation. She did not even respond to the legal notices sent by the husband urging her to return home. After failing to get a response, he filed a petition in a family court demanding restitution of conjugal rights. However, the wife then filed a counter petition seeking maintenance.

The family court had allowed the petition filed by the husband in July 2006, while dismissing the one filed by the wife. She then appealed against conjugal rights, which was also dismissed.

When the wife still refused to return home, the husband filed another petition for divorce on the ground of cruelty. On March 16, 2009, the family court ruled in favor of the husband’s call for divorce. Following this, the wife filed a new petition asking for maintenance.

In her defence, the wife urged that since divorce was already granted, she was now entitled to maintenance. Her lawyer argued that she was not previously entitled to maintenance because of her decision to live separately from her husband without sufficient reason, but since now they were legally divorced, the husband was legally liable to pay for maintenance.

However, Justice Abhay Thipsay of the Aurangabad bench of Bombay High Court dismissed the plea saying: “Though this argument is rather ingenious, there is actually no merit in it.” He said the marriage had been dissolved because the court did not find any just or lawful reason for her to leave her husband. When this is the position, just because the marriage has been dissolved, the wife does not automatically become entitled to maintenance