Even a working wife is entitled to maintenance from her estranged husband irrespective of differences in their earnings, a Delhi court has said.
The court also rejected the contention of a man that only a woman who is on the verge of starvation and destitution, is entitled for interim maintenance.u00a0
It said the amount of maintenance should be such that the wife is able to live in “reasonable comfort” considering her “status and lifestyle” she had while living with her husband.
“It is not only to prevent destitution and vagrancy of the complainant (woman) that interim maintenance is awarded, but it is also to be awarded where the wife has become used to a certain standard of living by virtue of her marriage with a man of means so she should not be suddenly deprived of the said luxuries to which she has become used to,” Metropolitan Magistrate Monika Saroha said.
The court made the observations while deciding a woman’s plea seeking interim maintenance from her estranged husband in a domestic violence case alleging that she was treated with verbal abuses and emotional violence in various ways since her marriage.
It also held that prima facie it was satisfied that the woman was treated with cruelty at her matrimonial home and deserved to be maintained by her husband.
The court awarded Rs 35,000 monthly interim maintenance to the wife.
“Interim maintenance is also awarded to ensure that during the pendency of the proceedings, the wife is able to maintain the same standard of living which she was used to, in her matrimonial house because of the earning of the husband,” it said.
The court rejected the husband’s allegation that his wife was having some other source of income as she used to make a saving of Rs one lakh every year.
It said the woman was making savings out of her earnings, every year while she was in the matrimony and it could be because her husband was earning a handsome amount and she could afford to save somehow.
“Therefore, it does not mean that she has some undisclosed source of income and also a presumption regarding extra earnings of the complainant cannot be based on surmises and conjectures,” the court said.