The Punjab & Haryana High Court recently observed that a husband has a moral and legal liability to maintain his wife who is unable to maintain herself, even if he is a professional beggar [Sandeep v. Suman].
Justice HS Madaan dismissed a revision plea filed by the husband against an order directing him to pay maintenance to his wife. The Court noted in its order,
“Of course a husband has got a moral and legal liability to maintain his wife unable to maintain herself, even if he is a professional bagger. The respondent/husband could not establish on record that petitioner wife (herein respondent) has got any means of earning or is possessed of sufficient property.”
The Court noted that the husband is an able-bodied person and that nowadays, even a manual labourer manages to earn ₹500 or more per day. Further, keeping in view the trend of rising prices, the maintenance awarded cannot be said to be on higher side, the Court rueld.
The wife had preferred a divorce petition and an application under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, seeking maintenance from her husband at ₹15,000 per month and litigation expenses of ₹11,000 pending the outcome of the divorce case.
The trial court awarded maintenance at ₹5,000 per month to the respondent-wife during the pendency of the divorce case. It also directed the husband to pay a lump sum of ₹5,500 to his wife as litigation expenses along with ₹500 per hearing on getting marked her presence before the court.
Aggrieved by this order, the husband moved the High Court.
The High Court was of the view that the husband in no way established on record that his wife has any means of earning in order to maintain herself.
Therefore, the Court was of the view that the trial court was justified in granting maintenance as well as litigation expenses.
“The impugned order passed by the trial Court is quite detailed and well reasoned and it does not suffer from any illegality or infirmity and is not having any element of arbitrariness or perversity,” the Court held while dismissing the plea of husband.
Advocate Gurmeet Kaur appeared for the husband.