Maintenance Sought Under Section 23 Of Domestic Violence Act Cannot Be Denied Unless It Is Proved That Wife Is Gainfully Employed Affirms Delhi High Court

Team SoOLEGAL 4 Jun 2019 4:24pm

Maintenance Sought Under Section 23 Of Domestic Violence Act Cannot Be Denied Unless It Is Proved That Wife Is Gainfully Employed Affirms Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court held that once interim maintenance is pursued by a wife under Section 23 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, it can't be denied to her unless she is gainfully employed & drawing a salary.

The petitioner filed a plea u/s 23 of the Domestic Violence Act for interim maintenance, and the trial court granted interim maintenance of Rs.16,500. The husband filed an appeal in the appellate court and such order of maintenance was reversed. This reversal was challenged before the high court by the petitioner.

According to the petitioner, she got married to her husband on February 14, 2015, and the bride's parents spent lavishly fulfilling all such demands of the husband and his family.
She was residing along with her husband and his family, in her matrimonial home in Muradnagar, Uttar Pradesh.

The petitioner alleged cruelty by her in-laws who were not satisfied with the dowry given and also alleged that all her jewellery and Istridhan (dowry) were taken by her in-laws by stating to keep them safe in a bank locker. She also alleged that Kanupriya was consistently harassed by her husband and her in-laws. And one day, Kanupriya's husband left the matrimonial house in Muradnagar, Ghaziabad and started living in Pune and denied to return to the matrimonial home. Thereafter, the petitioner went to live with her husband in Pune, where she came to know that he was living in a flat which was in a ruined condition and did not even have separate toilet facilities and she was also forced to live with her husband there;  where she was also neglected because of which she became unwell and was forced to leave her matrimonial home and live with her parents in Muradnagar. After which she shifted to Laxmi Nagar, Delhi, as she was preparing for bank examination.

According to the husband, the petitioner was gainfully employed and is been working in Aastha Infracity Ltd. And stated that his client's uncle had managed to get Kanupriya a job in Indian Railways and that she was receiving salary.

The petitioner contended that the husband's uncle had fraudulently secured employment in her name in Indian Railways from which salary was being credited to an account opened in her name and the money deposited in the said account was being debited by the uncle and credited to his son's account.

The court observed- "There is no material produced by Respondent no. 2 either before the Trial Court, Appellate Court or before this court to show that the Petitioner, in fact, had secured any employment or was receiving any salary or income. An application under Section 23(1) of the D.V. Act is an application for fixing interim maintenance. Interim maintenance is fixed on taking a prima facie view of the matter. Serious disputed questions of facts raised at that stage, requiring evidence cannot be gone into. Unless undisputed evidence is produced by the husband clearly establishing that the wife is gainfully employed, relief of interim maintenance cannot be declined."

The bench also further stated - "As noticed above, no material has been produced by Respondent no. 2 to show that the Petitioner is gainfully employed or receiving any salary and actually earning. The pleas raised by the Respondent no. 2 would be required to be established at trial. Till Respondent no. 2 establishes by leading cogent evidence that Petitioner is gainfully employed and receiving salary, there is no justification to deny maintenance to the Petitioner-wife".

However, the trial court's order awarding maintenance of Rs.16,500 per month for the wife was restored.

Tagged: delhihighcourt   domesticviolenceact   maintenance  
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