The Delhi court dismissed the interim monetary relief request of a wife under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, reasoning that she possessed high qualifications and could procure a means of income, and awarding her maintenance would encourage inactivity and reliance on her spouse.
An application was filed by the wife under the act seeking interim maintenance of ₹50,000 per month, which was being heard by Metropolitan Magistrate Swayam Siddha Tripathy.
“The complainant (wife) is highly qualified and capable of finding a source of income for herself and allowing maintenance will only promote idleness and dependency on the husband. Therefore, I am not inclined to grant any maintenance in view of her capacity to earn,” the magistrate said.
The court emphasized that the wife’s entitlement to receive maintenance from her husband was not absolute. It was necessary for the wife to demonstrate her inability to sustain and manage even the most basic necessities and prove that the husband was earning and living a more prosperous lifestyle, leaving the wife to fend for herself.
“The complainant has to prove that either she is not earning or her income is not sufficient to maintain the same standard of living which was provided to her in the matrimonial house,” the court said.
Wife equally qualified as husband: Court
The court observed that in the current situation, the wife was an MBA graduate, equally qualified as her husband, and physically capable, yet opted not to pursue employment. Furthermore, the husband, who was a qualified doctor, was presently jobless, and the court stated that he was not living an extravagant lifestyle.
“Thus, both the complainant and her husband are capable of earning but are not employed. Therefore, this argument (of not having any income) cannot be used against one unemployed spouse for providing maintenance to the other unemployed spouse,” the court said.
The court stated that the wife failed to prove that she enjoyed a higher standard of living while residing at her marital home, and her current family status did not support the claim that a lack of maintenance would result in her being reduced to poverty or homelessness.
The magistrate cited a 2001 ruling by the Delhi High Court, stating that the principles of fairness and impartiality should be utilized in cases involving maintenance.
“Equity means fairness and evenness and it cannot be applied solitarily upon the aggrieved wife. In absence of any dependent, either of the qualified spouses cannot be made responsible for the other’s well-being considering that neither of them is on the verge of destitution,” the magistrate said.
The court also said that the wife was from a “well-to-do family” and also received compensation from her first husband.
In addition, the court mentioned that the wife came from a financially secure background and also received compensation from her previous spouse.
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