Observing that USD 300 (Rs 15,000) is too small an amount to sustain abroad, the Bombay High Court has asked a US-based Indian to increase it to USD 1,200 (Rs 60,000) as an interim monthly maintenance to his wife, who is pursuing higher studies in the US.
While increasing the maintenance amount, Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode took on record a document submitted by Pushpa Jadhav (name changed) which showed that her husband Rajesh earned US dollars 9,000 per month.
The wife pleaded that she was asking for an increase as she was not able to sustain herself in the US with the meagre amount of USD 300, which had been awarded by a family court earlier.
"It is the minimum amount to sustain in USA which we have asked the husband to pay to his wife," the judges said yesterday and added that Rs 15,000 equivalent to USD 300 awarded by the lower court was too less for the wife to meet her expenses on food, clothing, conveyance and medical.
The wife had challenged the order of a family court in Pune, delivered in May last year, which had asked her husband to pay Rs 15,000, equivalent to USD 300, to her as monthly interim maintenance.
The couple married in Pune on May 7, 2007 and shortly thereafter left for the US. However, 45 days later the wife returned to India to attend to her ailing grandmother. Her husband too came to India but returned alone.
However, he refused to call back his wife to the US and filed a divorce petition in a family court in Pune through his parents which was dismissed. The wife, who was in India, then filed proceedings for restitution of conjugal rights which was allowed but the execution of the order could not take place.
Hearing the case, the family court had earlier ordered the husband to pay a monthly maintenance of Rs 15,000 (USD 300) to her.
Thereafter, the wife went to US for higher studies and later urged the court to increase the maintenance as she could not sustain with the meagre amount of USD 300.
The husband argued that in US the concept among working couples was that of "earning and learning."
He prayed that his wife was a qualified dentist and could practice or take up a job while studying, instead of asking for a higher amount as maintenance.
However, the High Court disagreed with