As per an order in March 2016, a city court in Delhi asked a woman to find a job for herself and not depend on her husband, as she was qualified and capable enough to maintain her own expenses.
The court discouraged the woman’s demand for alimony, citing if a woman is qualified enough to work and manage her own expenses, then she should do the same and not depend on her former husband. The court also said that she should not burden her estranged husband in the name of maintenance.
The husband, on the other hand, had voluntarily agreed to help his ex-wife to find employment and pay her maintenance upto one year. However, the man had filed an appeal against paying Rs 12,000 a month to support his wife, after which the observation of the court came up.
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District Judge Rekha Rani observed,
The respondent (woman) admitted being more qualified than the appellant (man). She admitted to being able-bodied and having the capacity to earn.
The court also said the woman should become independent and earn her own money. Judge Rekha Rani said,
As such, she cannot be allowed to sit idle at home to put a financial burden on the appellant. Let her make a sincere endeavour to find work.
The Indian legal system entitles a woman to alimony which could be temporary or permanent maintenance from her spouse, in the form of financial support. The court cited:
If the woman needs the assistance of the appellant in finding a job, she may communicate with him (the estranged husband) by sending SMS on mobile/email.
The woman in her defense argued that though she was better qualified, she married young and never got a chance to do any job or traveled alone. While the man in his arguments stated that his estranged wife was not entitled to monetary relief as she was more qualified than him. He also cited in the court that his former wife was an MSc gold medalist.
No Effort To Find Job
The husband had alleged his wife had not even looked for job anywhere, wanted to sit idle voluntarily and remain a financial burden on him.
When the woman said that she had never traveled alone and wanted the man to accompany her for finding employment, the court said,
The submission is neither palatable not digestible. Both are coming to the court separately. If she can come to the court to fight litigation alone, she can go alone to search for a job as well.
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Despite this citing by the court, the man also said that he was willing to accompany his estranged wife for her job search and help her with whatever she needed to work upon. The court concluded,
The man has agreed to pay her maintenance of Rs 12,000 per month for one year and during this period, she should make sincere efforts and start working.
Maintenance / Alimony Criteria
- Status and position of the husband, his income, assets and lifestyle
- Reasonable wants of a wife (including the necessities of the child’s present and future requirements, if a child is involved)
- Wife’s own income and earnings
Currently our legal system does not look at duration in marriage or timelines of maintenance awarded. Many women today take undue advantage of this flaw in the system, and even if the marriage has lasted merely for one day, they demand lifelong maintenance from their ex-husbands.
Orders like the above, are highly subjective in nature and there are several counter judgements by courts of appeal, where they have made man accountable to pay up, despite wife being educated and working.
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