The Punjab and Haryana High Court in its order dated April 25, 2022 has observed that a wife cannot be denied maintenance on the grounds of being well-educated and that a husband is legally and morally responsible to look after his wife and children.
The Bench of Justice Rajesh Bhardwaj directed the husband to pay maintenance to wife, despite the man alleging false cases of dowry by wife.
Marriage between parties took place in November 2016 as per Sikh rites. After marriage, due to matrimonial discord between the petitioner-husband and respondent-wife, she left her husband’s home and subsequently filed for maintenance under Section 125 CrPC.
Family Court awarded maintenance to the tune of Rs 2,500 per month from the date of filing of the petition till 7.3.2022 and Rs 3,600 per month from the date of passing the said order.
The said order was challenged by husband in Punjab & Haryana High Court.
Submission by Wife
It was pleaded by respondent-wife that she had no source of income to maintain herself nor any movable or immovable property in her name, whereas, the petitioner is doing business of medicines and is earning Rs 50,000 per month. Wife also alleged that her family had spent Rs 20 lakh on her marriage.
Defense by Husband
The petitioner appeared after issuance of notice and filed his written statement. He categorically denied all charges and said that it was the wife instead, who had left his home with all gold jewelry.
Learned counsel for the petitioner has submitted that the respondent-wife has levelled false and frivolous allegations of harassment, cruelty and demand of dowry. He added that in fact the wife was never satisfied with her marriage with the petitioner and she deserted the petitioner of her own. He submits that in view of Section 125(4) Cr.P.C. as the wife has herself left the matrimonial home without any rhyme and reason, she is not entitled for any maintenance as awarded by the learned Family Court.
He also submitted that the respondent-wife is well educated having Masters degree in Hindi and her father is working as a Clerk with a practising Lawyer.
Husband argued that the learned Family Court illegally struck off the defence of the petitioner and thus, he was prevented from leading his evidence.
Punjab & Haryana High Court
The Court, in its order, observed that there was nothing on record showing that the respondent-wife had deserted the petitioner without any rhyme and reason. The Court also discarded the argument of the Husband that since the respondent-wife is well educated and has done her MA in Hindi and thus, she is not entitled to the maintenance. The Court observed,
The petitioner is an able-bodied man and as per the law settled by Hon’ble Supreme Court in plethora of judgments, the husband is legally and morally responsible to look after his wife and children.The provisions of Section 125 Cr.P.C. are there to prevent the destitution and vagrancy.
After weighing the facts and circumstances of the case, the Court found that the maintenance granted to the wife in view of the income of the petitioner was reasonable and did not suffer from any illegality and thus, the plea was dismissed.
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