The Delhi High Court today asked a family court to first decide the issue of maintainability of the plea of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah’s estranged wife, seeking maintenance from him. The high court said that before awarding interim maintenance, the family court would also determine whether the couple’s two sons were entitled to maintenance as they both have become major. “Maintainability of the petition under Section 125 of the CrPC and question of award of interim maintenance are inseparable. “In order to award interim maintenance, the court concerned shall first arrive at a finding that whether the husband/petitioner neglected or refused to give maintenance to his wife/respondent No.1 and that whether the wife/respondent was unable to maintain herself,” Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said.
The judge also said, “The court will also necessarily have to determine before awarding the interim maintenance whether respondents No. 2 and 3 (the sons) are entitled for the same as both the respondents have attained majority. Therefore the question of grant of interim maintenance can be determined only after the determination of the maintainability of the petition under Section 125 of the CrPC.” The court said that it has been agreed between Omar Abdullah and his estranged wife Payal Abdullah that they would not seek any adjournment and without causing delay, they will address arguments before the family court on December 12, the date already fixed.
It said that it is hoped and expected that the principal judge, family court at Patiala House Court here will hear the arguments on behalf of the parties expeditiously and make every endeavour to dispose of the petition by the end of January 2018. It disposed of the petition of Omar Abdullah in which he had challenged the maintenance proceedings involving his estranged wife. The court had earlier reserved its order on Omar Abdullah’s plea which had claimed that the petition moved by and their two sons seeking maintenance from him, was not maintainable.
Payal Abdullah’s counsel had opposed Omar Abdullah’s plea and said the National Conference leader’s wife has been deserted for over a year and left to beg to pay the fees of their two sons. Omar Abdullah’s lawyer had argued before the high court that Payal Abdullah had her own business and a house in the national capital and therefore she has to first establish that she cannot maintain herself to be entitled for the relief. The lawyer had also contended that their two sons were adults now and therefore, they too cannot seek maintenance. In his plea, Omar Abdullah had sought directions to the family court here to first decide the maintainability of Payal Abdullah’s plea before it decided on the issue of interim maintenance.
He has also challenged the family court’s September 9, 2016 order issuing summons to him in the maintenance case. On August 30 last year, a trial court had dismissed Omar Abdullah’s plea seeking divorce from Payal Abdullah, saying he had failed to prove irretrievable breakdown of their marriage. His appeal in the high court against the trial court decision is still pending.