The Delhi High Court has passed an order dated June 03, 2022 observing that in India, a brother does not abandon his divorced sister and accordingly, the expenditure borne by him in supporting his sister must be taken into account while passing an order of maintenance in favour of his wife.
The High Court was hearing a revision plea filed by the wife challenging an order of Family Court directing her husband to pay revised maintenance of Rs 6,000 per month. The couple has separated nearly 30-years ago and the fully-abled wife has been approaching court periodically for enhancement of maintenance.
READ ORDER | Post Graduate Wife Entitled To Maintenance Even If She Lives In Matrimonial Household: Delhi Court
Parties got married as per Hindu rituals in December 1992. A son was born to them in September 1993 (28-years-old as on date and also a petitioner in demanding maintenance from father). Disputes arose between the petitioner Wife and respondent Husband, and subsequently the petitioner filed a petition under Section 125 of Code of Criminal Code, 1973 (Cr.P.C.) for grant of maintenance.
In October 1998, Metropolitan Magistrate directed Husband to pay maintenance of Rs 450 per month to the Wife and Rs 350 per month to the son (total Rs 800 per month).
Wife Takes Ex-Parte Order On Enhancement Of Maintenance
In September 2007, the petitioner filed an application under Section 127 Cr.P.C. before Metropolitan Magistrate and an ex parte order was passed in the absence of respondent, wherein the maintenance amount was enhanced to Rs 2,200 per month, for both the petitioner as well as the son each (total Rs 4,400 per month).
The ex parte order was challenged by husband under Section 126 of Cr.P.C., however, the application was dismissed. The said order was challenged by respondent wherein the Learned Appellate Court remanded back the case to the learned Metropolitan Magistrate with direction to decide the application on merit and till the said application was decided, interim maintenance was awarded as per order dated 24.09.2007.
Wife Files Another Enhancement Application In 2018
Since there was increase in the income of husband in February 2018, the wife filed another application u/s 127 Cr.P.C., praying for enhancement of maintenance and in July 2018, the husband was directed to pay maintenance of Rs 6,000 per month to the petitioner from the date of the impugned order during her lifetime or till she gets remarried. The impugned order dated 04.07.2018 reads as under:-
Apart from vague allegations of the husband, which have been denied by the wife, there is no evidence to show that petitioner is working anywhere or there has been change in circumstances on this aspect since the earlier orders were passed under sections 125 Cr. P.C. and 127 Cr.P.C. Thus the Wife would remain eligible for the maintenance.
The Husband has not been able to discharge the burden to show that the Wife is having any other income. Even assuming for the sake of the argument, that the Son is working in a Mall as alleged by the Father, that fact would have no bearing on the liability of the Husband to maintain Wife.
READ ORDER | Husband Has To Pay Maintenance Under Section 125 CrPC Even If Parties Signed Agreement: Gauhati High Court
Liability of Husband
After divorce from 1st wife, the husband had later remarried and had a child born out of the new marriage. He also had a dependent father aged 79-years and a divorced sister who used to receive maintenance from her husband.
Delhi High Court
Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma of the Delhi High Court analysed the macro picture and observed,
Relationships cannot be caged in a mathematical formula alone in every case. Each case has to be decided in view of its special and peculiar circumstances which may warrant indulgence of the Court. No doubt in cases involving grant of maintenance calculation has to be made in terms of financial capacity, the same needs to be done keeping in mind all family circumstances.
Responsibility of Husband As Son
The Court further said that it is the duty of the son or daughter to take care of his or her parents during the golden days of their life.
READ ORDER | Maintenance Cannot Be Denied To Wife U/s 125 CrPC Even If Restitution Of Conjugal Rights Is Passed In Favour Of Husband: Allahabad High Court
The Court opined that the counsel for the petitioner was not able to point out as to whether the 79-years old father of the husband was not being maintained by him or was able to maintain himself having some income of his own. The High Court said,
It is the moral and legal duty of the respondent (son) to look after his father in the golden years of his life and ensure every comfort and support to him as ‘He is because of Him’. I, therefore, am of the opinion that in absence of any proof of independent income of the father, at this stage, the respondent must be spending some amount on looking after his father. The learned Principal Judge of Family Court has rightly held the same.
Responsibility Of Husband Towards Divorced Sister
The Court then rejected another argument put forth by the Wife, that her Husband’s divorced sister cannot be held to be his dependent. The Court said,
In my opinion, this stand is meritless to the extent that in India, the bond between siblings and their dependence on each other may not always be financial but it is expected that a brother or sister will not abandon or neglect his or her sibling in time of need.
The Court thus observed that though the divorced sister can legally and morally claim maintenance from her husband, however the respondent brother, at the same time, must be spending and is expected to spend some amount for his sister on special occasions and in case of any emergent need. The Court said,
Therefore, though while apportioning the income of the respondent, one portion of income of the respondent cannot be apportioned to the sister, some amount as expenditure on yearly basis has to be kept aside for the divorced sister as moral obligation of the respondent. The plea of the petitioner that no amount should be considered to be spent on the divorced sister is meritless especially in the Indian context and the peculiar circumstances of the present case.
READ ORDER | Wife Is Entitled To Maintenance Under Section 125 CrPC Even If She Unilaterally Divorces (Talaq) Husband
Husband & His Dependents
After considering various aspects, the Delhi High Court thus noted that the husband had total four dependents as below:
- 1st Wife
- 2nd Wife
- Daughter Born from 2nd Marriage
- Senior Citizen Father
- Divorced Sister
Since the son of the respondent from the first wife, also petitioner in the matter, had already attained majority, he cannot be considered as dependent.
Therefore, the Court opined that the man’s income would have to be divided into 5 shares:
- 2 shares for respondent husband as being the earning member
- One share each to the remaining dependents
The High Court noted that approximately Rs 7,500 will come to share of all the dependents, the Court enhanced the maintenance amount awarded to the petitioner from Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,500 per month from the date on which the respondent husband received his first enhanced salary, which according to the Trial Court was February, 2018, which was not disputed either by the petitioner or by the respondent. The Delhi High Court noted,
The maintenance cannot be enhanced from the date of the application as the present petition is under Section 127 Cr.P.C. wherein, the maintenance amount has to be decided on the basis of the date on which the salary of the husband had changed.
READ ORDER | Able-Bodied Husband Legally & Morally Responsible To Pay Maintenance For Post-Graduate Wife: Punjab & Haryana High Court
- Maintenance to Estranged Wives/Divorced Wives under Section 125 CrPC is a legal trap for Men for life
- Parties have separated more than 30-years ago, which means the estranged wife has 0 contribution to the professional success of the husband; Yet the honourable Court has done a simple math calculation dividing shares for all dependents
- The woman has been filling application after application for enhancement of maintenance, without any onus on her, to rebuild her life or go and fetch some work herself
- It is the most common tactic for estranged wives to declare themselves without any income, & it is virtually impossible for Men to prove otherwise wasting their time in collecting evidence for years/decades; Men prefer to focus on their career and life and due to this, disgruntled idle estranged wives keep taking advantage of the law
- Section 125 CrPC is a Draconian Law which allowed lifelong maintenance to wives with or without divorce
- Earlier maintenance under this section, was capped to a maximum of Rs 500 per month
- However, the ceiling of Rs 500 per month was removed through Amendment Act, 2001
- So effectively, as the law stands on date: A wife can merely make allegations against her husband and his family, live separately, refuse to divorce the man for life and yet be entitled to lifelong tax free maintenance from the husband. Maintenance starts on mere application, irrespective of any charges proven. Even after charges are proven to be false, there is no refund and the husband is asked to pay permanent alimony
- Our courts are flooded with these legal extortion litigations, where women are getting away by filing false cases, indulging in perjury, forging documents, yet being rewarded in the name of ‘financial security to weaker section’.
- If Men in India do not raise their voice against these inhuman, corrupt and absolute unjust practices now, we will only end up witnessing many more suicides of Married Men, and eventually India will stop witnessing marriages
- Marriages can succeed…and marriages can fail as well
- But to tie a man into the dead bond for life, in the name of supporting a fully-abled woman, is a sheer hypocrisy and mockery of chest thumping feminism
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READ ORDER | Delhi High Court Enhances Maintenance Under Sec 125 CrPC For Wife Who Divorced Husband Nearly 30-Years Ago— Voice For Men India (@voiceformenind) June 6, 2022
▪️1998: Was Awarded Lifelong Maintenance
▪️2007: Got Ex-Parte Enhancement
▪️2018: Filed New Application As Husband's Salary Increasedhttps://t.co/7s0WpKQ2ki
No Maintenance To Educated Wife | Interview | Kanupriya Kejriwal, Matrimonial Lawyer
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