• Delhi HC sets aside mechanical award of maintenance to wife

    January 30, 2017

    Delhi HC has set aside the decision, wherein it found fault with the “mechanical” manner in which a family court computed the monthly maintenance to be paid to a woman by her Dubai-based husband. The court said that the man’s cost of living there and the wife’s expected expenses were overlooked in the present case.

    A Bench consisting of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Yogesh Khanna said that the family court “casually” calculated the annual income of the husband for the years 2012 to 2016 on the basis of the Dirham to Rupee conversion rate of 2016 and not the earlier years. The HC noted that though the woman had moved an application for maintenance in November 2012, she had lived with her husband at their matrimonial home till July 2015 and in the intervening period the man had borne the family expenses, including school fees of their two children.

    HC directed the family court to re-decide the maintenance application by examining the couple on oath regarding their sources of income, investments, liabilities and expenses as well as the “huge inflow and outflow” of money from their respective accounts. With this direction the Bench set aside the Family Courts judgment to award the wife maintenance of Rs. 5, 86,143 per month from the date of her application for the same.

    This order was made by the court on the husband’s plea challenging the family court’s decision stating that the maintenance amount was mechanically calculated without considering his cost of living in Dubai. It further said in its 15-page ruling that the maintenance paid shall be liable to adjustment as per the final determination of the application by the Family Court.

    “Amounts already received by the wife pursuant to interim orders passed in the appeals shall be adjusted,” the bench added and disposed off the husband’s plea.


    The HC’s decision of reconsidering the judgment of the family court in granting maintenance award to be given to a wife in a divorce case is a very important step. Divorce cases are very common in India. The money that is payable by the husband to her wife post divorce is crucial for her, since in most cases maintenance amount provided is the only financial support available to lead one’s life. Therefore, the court must refrain from calculating maintenance casually.

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