Man's unwillingness to work no ground for depriving wife maintenance: Court

New Delhi: An engineer husband has been denied any relief from paying interim maintenance to his spouse by a Delhi court which said his unwillingness to work for last many years was not a sufficient ground "to deprive his wife and child to claim maintenance for their survival".

Additional Sessions Judge Sudesh Kumar, while dismissing the appeal of the man from Jharkhand, said he was supposed to maintain his wife, who happened to be living separately from him due to matrimonial dispute between them.

"Simply because it is claimed that he is not working at his own will for last many years, is not sufficient to deprive his wife and child to claim maintenance for their survival," the court said. It refused to interfere with the trial court order directing the man to pay Rs 10,000 interim maintenance to his wife and child saying there was no illegality or irregularity in the order passed by the magistrate.

"He (husband) himself has furnished a salary slip showing his salary to be Rs 28,000 in 2010. Metropolitan magistrate, however, without considering any nominal increase after 4 years has taken up his present income to be at least Rs 25,000 and granted a maintenance of Rs 10,000 per month to both the wife and the child which in my considered view is very reasonable," the sessions judge said.

The court said that the appellant (husband) was an able bodied person, well educated, capable of working and has "no other liability except to maintain his wife and his child who are unable to maintain themselves".

Directing the husband to clear the arrears of interim maintenance within three months from the date of the order, the court rejected the man's contention that Domestic Incident Report (DIR) as mandated by law in the domestic violence case was not considered by the magistrate.

It said that the "basic objective of the beneficial legislation would fail in case the DIR is to be considered mandatory before passing any urgent order in favour of the victim".

The magistrate had earlier passed the order on the petition of the woman, a Delhi resident, seeking maintenance from her estranged husband alleging that she was subjected to cruelty by him and her in-laws due to which she was forced to live separately with her minor son.

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