This is an article on how to successfully defend a maintenance case filed by your wife.
These are the judgments, that we have successfully used over the years, alongwith the relevant excerpts, to negative a woman’s claim for maintenance in courts across India. It is always important to do a little homework.
1. Keep a track on your wife’s finances.
2. Her PAN Card No. may be vital to get her income tax returns.
When the maintenance proceedings are on – then in that case you can always emphasise strongly on the fact that these provisions were meant to protect genuinely harassed and incapable women from starvation and destitution, and not a vehicle of oppression allowing women to live as parasites. ‘Incapacity to earn is the most vital consideration’ Hence if a wife is otherwise able bodied and educated and fails to work solely because of sheer lethargy and desire to break down husband financially in that situation she is not entitled to any maintenance.
THESE JUDGMENTS MAY BE IMMENSELY HELPFUL FOR THOSE FACING MAINTENANCE PROCEEDINGS !
1. Madhya Pradesh High Court – Smt. Mamta Jaiswal vs Rajesh Jaiswal on 24 March, 2000 – Equivalent citations: 2000 (4) MPHT 457
“6. In view of this, the question arises as to in what way Section 24 of the Act has to be interpreted. Whether a spouse who has capacity of earning but chooses to remain idle, should be permitted to saddle other spouse with his or her expenditure ? Whether such spouse should be permitted to get pendente life alimony at higher rate from other spouse in such condition ? According to me, Section 24 has been enacted for the purpose of providing a monetary assistance to such spouse who is incapable of supporting himself or herself in spite of sincere efforts made by him or herself. A spouse who is well qualified to get the service immediately with less efforts is not expected to remain idle to squeeze out, to milk out the other spouse by relieving him of his or her own purse by a cut in the nature of pendente life alimony. The law does not expect the increasing number of such idle persons who by remaining in the arena of legal battles, try to squeeze out the adversory by implementing the provisions of law suitable to their purpose. In the present case Mamta Jaiswal is a well qualified woman possessing qualification like M. Sc. M.C. M.Ed. Till 1994 she was serving in Gulamnabi Azad Education College. It impliedly means that she was possessing sufficient experience. How such a lady can remain without service ? It really puts a big question which is to be answered by Mamta Jaiswal with sufficient congent and believable evidence by proving that in spite of sufficient efforts made by her, she was not able to get service and, therefore, she is unable to support herself. A lady who is fighting matrimonial petition filed for divorce, can not be permitted to sit idle and to put her burden on the husband for demanding pendente lite alimony from him during pendency of such matrimonial petition. Section 24 is not meant for creating an army of such idle persons who would be sitting idle waiting for a ‘dole’ to be awarded by her husband who has got a grievance against her and who has gone to the Court for seeking a relief against her. The case may be vice-versa also. If a husband well qualified, sufficient enough to earn, sits idle and puts his burden on the wife and waits for a ‘dole’ to be awarded by remaining entangled in litigation. That is also not permissible. The law does not help indolents as well idles so also does not want an army of self made lazy idles. Everyone has to earn for the purpose of maintenance of himself or herself, atleast, has to make sincere efforts in that direction. If this criteria is not applied, if this attitude is not adopted, there would be a tendency growing amongst such litigants to prolong such litigation and to milk out the adversory who happens to be a spouse, once dear but far away after an emerging of litigation. If such army is permitted to remain in existence, there would be no sincere efforts of amicable settlements because the lazy spouse would be very happy to fight and frustrate the efforts of amicable settlement because he would be reaping the money in the nature of pendente lite alimony, and would prefer to be happy in remaining idle and not bothering himself or herself for any activity to support and maintain himself or herself. That can not he treated to he aim, goal of Section 24. It is indirectly against healthyness of the society. It has enacted for needy persons who in spite of sincere efforts and sufficient efforts arc unable to support and maintain themselves and arc required to fight out the litigation jeopardising their hard earned income by toiling working hours”
2. ) Kumaresan Vs. Aswathi reported in (2002) 2 MLJ 760
wherein it has been held as under :- “8…….A plain reading of the above provision would show that the only condition required for grant of maintenance pendente lite is the party should not have sufficient independent income for her/his support. If it is found that the applicant has sufficient income for his/her support, no amount can be allowed as maintenance pendente lite as per section 24 of the Act. But of course, if it is found that the applicant has no sufficient independent income for his/her support, such application can be considered and suitable maintenance amount can be awarded pendente lite.”
3. Manokaran @ Ramamoorthy Vs. M. Devaki reported in AIR 2003 Mad 212, wherein it has been held as under :-
“5…..The above averment shows that the petitioner herein/husband is working in Senthil Auto Garage, Annai Sathya Nagar, Chennai-102 and drawing a salary of Rs.2000/- per month. Likewise, it is also seen that the respondent herein/wife is working in Raj T.V and drawing
a salary of Rs.4,500/-. Though the said aspect has not been substantiated, I have already referred to the admission of the respondent herein in her counter statement filed in the main O.P.1310/2000 wherein she admitted that she secured a private job and is getting salary and staying with her brother. On the other hand, it is established particularly from Ex. R-1, the petitioner herein is getting only Rs.70/- per day or Rs.2000/- per month by working in Senthil Auto Garage. I have already referred to the language used in Section 24 which makes it clear that for grant of maintenance pendente lite the party should not have sufficient independent income for her support. In the light of the materials available, particularly the admitted case of the respondent/wife, she is employed in a private Satelite T.V. and earning for her livelihood staying with her brother, it cannot be construed that she is not having sufficient independent income. The Family Court lost its sight to consider the above material aspect.”
If these judgments coupled with strong oral arguments, can really help rule out any adverse maintenance orders.
*The Author is a Supreme Court Advocate – based in Delhi, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org