"The excuses given on behalf of the respondent (husband) that he is not able to pay is not acceptable," Justice ML Tahaliyani of the Nagpur bench of the high court said.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by Sashi seeking maintenance for herself and for additional maintenance for their seven-month-old daughter, Neeta.
Sashi had initially approached the Family Court under section 125 (order for maintenance of wives, children and parents) of the Criminal Procedure Code. The family judge, in September 2012, partly allowed her application and directed her husband Mahesh to pay maintenance of Rs 1500 per month.
However, the judge refused maintenance to then two-month-old Neeta observing, "So far as the minor child is concerned, she is hardly two months old. There is no extra expense. She can maintain her in an amount of Rs 1500."
Aggrieved by this, Sashi approached the high court stating that her daughter's expense was more than hers. Varsha Dhobale, advocate for Mahesh, argued that he was not in a position to pay even Rs 1500 per month as he is presently unemployed.
Refusing to accept this argument, Justice Tahaliyani said, "If the respondent (husband) is not working and earning then it cannot be the fault of the petitioners (wife and child). The respondent must bear in mind that he has to maintain his wife and child."
The court directed the husband to pay Rs 1500 per month to wife and an additional Rs 1000 every month to the child. The High Court also directed the husband to pay arrears since August 2012.