Spousal maintenance: Support only when wife is unable to sustain herself, says Punjab and Haryana High Court : The Tribune India

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Spousal maintenance: Support only when wife is unable to sustain herself, says Punjab and Haryana High Court

Spousal maintenance: Support only when wife is unable to sustain herself, says Punjab and Haryana High Court

Photo for representation. File photo

Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, April 22

Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that a husband’s obligation to pay maintenance arises only when his wife is unable to support herself. Citing established legal precepts of law, the High Court has also emphasised that spousal maintenance is limited only to support. The ruling is significant as it clarifies the legal framework governing maintenance payments in marital disputes.

The assertions by Justice Nidhi Gupta of the High Court came on a petition filed by a woman seeking the modification of an order passed by a family court’s Principal Judge on March 15 directing the respondent-husband to monthly pay Rs 5, 000 as final maintenance allowance, along with litigation expenses of Rs 5,000.

Appearing before Justice Gupta’s Bench, the petitioner-wife’s counsel, among other things, submitted that the maintenance granted to her vide the impugned order was on the lower side. The parties were living separately since April 2012 and the petitioner had no means to maintain herself. The amount was grossly insufficient “in today’s times of increased expenses”, the counsel had added, while seeking maintenance enhancement.

After going through the arguments and the documents placed before the Bench, Justice Gupta asserted a perusal of the record showed that the petitioner-wife was 40-year-old, while the 60-year-old respondent-husband was a senior citizen.

Justice Gupta observed: “On a direct court query as to how the petitioner maintained herself from the date of separation in April 2012 till date of passing of impugned order, the counsel for the petitioner submits that she had maintained herself with great difficulty.”

Justice Gupta asserted the perusal of Section 125 of the CrPC on maintenance of wife, children and parents showed that the husband was bound to pay maintenance only to a wife unable to support herself. Additionally, only supportive maintenance was required to be paid by the husband. But it was clear that the petitioner in case before the Bench was having means to support herself. She admitted residing in a building, a part of which was rented out by her to a salon.

“Supportive maintenance by way of Rs 5,000 per month has already been granted to her vide the impugned order. In view of the above, I find no merit in the present petition and the same is accordingly, dismissed,” Justice Gupta concluded.

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