Wife in adultery not eligible for everlasting alimony, Punjab and Haryana High Court: The Tribune India guidelines

Tribune News Service

Saurab Malik

Chandigarh, October 3rd

In a significant ruling, the Punjab and Haryana Supreme Court has clarified that a woman living at adultery is not entitled to permanent alimony. The claim by the Division Bench of Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Nidhi Gupta was based on a woman’s appeal brought in the High Court after her husband was awarded a divorce decree under the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955.

The Chamber took up the matter and alleged that the applicant’s lawyer had not been able to produce evidence that could reverse the finding of extramarital affairs between the applicant’s wife and another person. An investigative report, combined with the evidence presented by the witness officer at the defendant husband’s home, consistently proved that the complainant wife was living in adultery. The only question for the Chamber to consider in those circumstances was whether the applicant wife was entitled to alimony.

The board found that the applicant’s counsel referred to a judgment of a departmental board which would not be applicable to the present alimony case. The divorce was granted in the above matter because of mental cruelty, since the wife filed a complaint against her husband and his family. It wasn’t adultery.

The bank added the lawyer referred to another Delhi High Court ruling. Also the case was not applicable. Maintenance was granted to the respondent wife under Section 125 of the CrPC, which was challenged by the petitioner’s husband on the grounds that the respondent wife was in adultery. In the divorce petition, the ground for divorce was cruelty, not adultery.

In another case referred to by the lawyer, the applicant’s wife filed for divorce on grounds of cruelty and desertion. The divorce was granted invoking jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Indian Constitution, taking into account that the marriage was emotionally dead between the parties and there was no point in coaxing them to continue living together.

The wife was granted permanent alimony of Rs 25 lakh for full and final settlement. This judgment would not help the complainant’s wife either. “In view of the submissions, the complainant is not entitled to permanent maintenance payments. The appeal is dismissed,” the bank concluded.

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