The upkeep supplied should be affordable and lifelike. The upkeep objective is to not punish the opposite partner: Supreme Courtroom [Read Judgment]

The Supreme Court has determined that the objective of provisional / permanent maintenance / alimony is to ensure that the dependent spouse is not put into poverty or vagabond as a result of marriage failure and not as a punishment for the other spouse for the maintenance amount granted must be reasonable and realistic, avoiding one of the two extremes, i.e. the maintenance granted …

The Supreme Court has ruled that the objective of provisional / permanent maintenance / alimony is to ensure that the dependent spouse is not placed in poverty or vagabond as a result of marriage failure and not as a punishment for the other spouse.

The maintenance amount granted must be reasonable and realistic and avoid either of the two extremes, i.e. the maintenance granted to the woman should neither be so extravagant that it becomes oppressive and unbearable for the respondent, nor should it be so meager that the woman is in trouble The bank, composed of Judges Indu Malhotra and R. Subhash Reddy, stated in the verdict issued on Wednesday [RAJNESH vs. NEHA].

The Court also found that the wife tends to exaggerate her needs and that the husband tends to obscure his actual income. In order to make an objective assessment for the granting of a provisional maintenance payment, the bank has also ordered that both parties in all maintenance proceedings, including pending proceedings before the relevant family court / district court / district court, must submit an affidavit of the disclosure of assets and liabilities.

The court found that the factors that would burden the Court, among others, are the status of the parties; appropriate needs of woman and dependent children; whether the applicant is trained and professionally qualified; whether the applicant has an independent source of income; whether the income is sufficient to maintain the standard of living she was used to in her married home; whether the complainant was employed before her marriage; whether she worked during the existence of the marriage; whether the woman has been forced to sacrifice employment opportunities to support the family, raise children, and look after adult family members; reasonable legal costs for a non-working woman.

It added that the husband’s financial standing, actual income, reasonable expenses for his own maintenance and dependent family members that he is required to maintain by law would have to take into account any liabilities to arrive at the reasonable amount of maintenance to be paid .

The court stated that the courts concerned must take into account the following criteria in determining the amount of maintenance to be paid to an applicant:

  1. In a long-term marriage where the parties have endured the relationship for several years, this would be a relevant factor to consider. At the end of the relationship, if the woman is educated and professionally qualified but has had to give up her employment opportunities to attend to the needs of the family who is the primary caregiver of the underage children and elderly family members, this is a factor that should be given due importance will. This is of particular concern in today’s society as, given the highly competitive industry standards, the separated wife must undergo new training to acquire marketable skills and retrain to secure a job in the paid workforce and to rehabilitate. With age, it would be difficult for a dependent woman to find an easy entry into the world of work after a break of several years.
  2. During the adoption of a residency permit under the Domestic Violence Act, the magistrate may instruct the respondent to pay rent and other payments, taking into account the parties’ financial needs and resources.
  3. If the wife is earning, she cannot function as a bar if she is entertained by the husband. The court must determine whether the wife has sufficient income to support herself according to her husband’s lifestyle in the marriage. It must be assumed that a able-bodied husband is able to make enough money to support his wife and children, and he cannot claim that he is unable to earn enough to support his family to nourish.
  4. It is the husband’s responsibility to provide the necessary material to demonstrate that there are reasonable grounds for his inability to support the family and to comply with his legal obligations for reasons beyond his control. If the husband does not disclose the exact amount of his income, the court can draw a negative conclusion.
  5. The child’s cost of living would include food, clothing, lodging, medical expenses and the upbringing of the children. Additional coaching courses or other vocational training courses to complement basic education must be considered while child benefit is granted. However, it should be a reasonable amount for after-school / coaching courses and not an overly extravagant amount that can be claimed. The children’s education costs usually have to be borne by the father. If the woman works and earns enough, the costs can be shared proportionally between the parties.
  6. A severe disability or illness of a spouse, child (s) from marriage / dependent relative who requires ongoing care and recurring expenses would also be a relevant consideration when quantifying maintenance.

The Court found that while there is no obstacle to claiming maintenance under the DV Act and Section 125 Cr.PC, it would be unfair to order the husband to pay maintenance in any proceeding, regardless of the granted relief a prior procedure. When deciding on the amount of maintenance in the subsequent proceedings, the civil / family court takes into account the maintenance that was granted in a previously initiated procedure and determines the maintenance that is to be paid to the applicant. The Court has also ruled that the right to maintenance in all legal acts must go back to the date the application was submitted.

Case: RAJNESH vs. NEHA [Cr. A No. 730 OF 2020 ]
Coram: Judges Indu Malhotra and R. Subhash Reddy

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