Section 125 CrPC- Maintenance to Wife can’t be Rejected on Ground that she is Earning

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January 07, 2019

In a recent case, the High Court of Kerala while deciding maintenance case under Section 125 of CrPC has succinctly stated that even if the wife was earning some amount that may not be a reason to reject her application for maintenance outright.

Case name: Alphonsa Joseph v. Anand Joseph

In the present case, the Petitioner wife and daughter approached Court claiming maintenance from Respondent under Section 125 of CrPC contending that respondent is an affluent person with sufficient means and that he has neglected and refused to maintain them. Hence, the Petitioners in the case claimed maintenance @ Rs.50,000/- per month.

The Respondent however refused to pay maintenance to the wife on the ground that petitioner/wife is a qualified doctor having BDS degree and refuses to work and earn for herself and hence the respondent is not willing to provide maintenance to her. The Family Court accepted respondent’s contention and refused to grant interim maintenance to the wife against which the Petitioner appealed before the High Court of Kerala.

Bench’s Verdict

The High Court of Kerala in appeal reversed the Family Court’s verdict and made the following observations in the case:

While making reference to Apex Court’s judgment in Sunita Kachwaha and ors. V. anil Kachwaha[1], noted that even if the wife was earning some amount that may not be a reason to reject her application for maintenance outright.

While condemning the Family Court’s order, the High Court observed that in such a case, Family Court should have applied its mind carefully before rejecting her prayer for maintenance holding that she has the potential to maintain herself.

It was also stated by the High Court that as held by the Apex Court in a catena of decisions, the concept of sustenance does not necessarily mean to live the life in penury and roam around for basic maintenance. The wife is entitled in law to lead a life in the same manner as she would have lived in the house of her husband with respect and dignity.

That the husband is not entitled to contend that he is not prepared to pay any maintenance and the courts are not expected to accept the blatant refusal of the husband with folded hands. If the Family Court decides to deny interim maintenance to the wife or pay a lesser amount than claimed to the minor child, it can only be on legally permissible reasons and not on the strength of a memo filed by the husband.

The entire case can be accessed here.

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[1] Criminal appeal no. 2310 of 2014