No maintenance for unborn child: court

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 21 2014, 11:25am hrs
No maintenance can be claimed for an unborn foetus as it is currently not in existence, a Delhi court has said while denying a pregnant woman's plea seeking interim relief from her estranged husband in a domestic violence case.

Metropolitan Magistrate Shivani Chauhan dismissed the application of the woman seeking interim maintenance of Rs 30,000 per month from her husband as expenses for her unborn child and for the period subsequent to its birth, saying no domestic violence can be committed upon a child that is yet to be born.

"An unborn foetus is not covered within the definition of a 'child'. As the child has not yet been born, no domestic violence can be committed upon it.

"No maintenance can be claimed on behalf of a person who is not in existence on the date of filing of the application," the magistrate said.

While dismissing the application, the court accepted the contention of the woman's husband, a resident of South Delhi, that his income was lesser than the woman who was concealing some of her income from it.

"The medical expenses of the complainant (woman) and her family, including expenses to be incurred on the delivery of the child, are already covered by the employer of the woman... application of woman under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (PWDV) Act is dismissed," the court said.

The woman, in her complaint, had alleged her husband, within a month of marriage, started forcing her to pay Rs 80,000 as rent to her mother-in-law for living in the matrimonial house. She also alleged her husband abused her physically and mentally when she was seven weeks pregnant.

Her husband, however, denied all allegations and said the woman used to lavishly spend his hard-earned money. He contended that even when he was going through a rough patch professionally, she pushed him to spend money beyond his means so that she could boast about it socially.

The court noted that the woman revealed her annual income as Rs 21 lakh while her husband was earning Rs 4.5 lakh per year which was "much less than the income of the woman".

The court also accepted the contention of the husband that the woman was earning Rs 12,000 from a rented accommodation.

The magistrate, while refusing the woman any interim relief, also said "the allegations and cross allegations cannot be decided at this stage" and fixed the matter for hearing in the case in December.