The Delhi High Court recently ruled that no matter if a wife is earning or not, the husband cannot avoid undertaking the responsibility of paying maintenance for his children. This was ruled when Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva of the Delhi High Court was hearing a revision petition which was challenging the order of the Sessions Court whereby the appeal of the petitioner against an order of the trial court was dismissed.

Merely because the respondent wife is earning, does not give an excuse to the husband to avoid working or undertaking the responsibility of paying maintenance for his children.

The petitioner was a Muslim respondent who married a Christian in 2004 by performing Nikah, and registering their marriage under the ‘Special Marriage Act, 1954’. The petitioner already had two daughters from his previous marriage and from the second one, he had two more. When the couple divorced in 2015, the Christian wife not only took care of her own daughters but also a minor daughter from the man’s first marriage. The other daughter of the petitioner had turned a major and hence started living with her father out of her own free will.

The wife had levelled domestic violence charges against her husband under Section 23 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. While hearing for the case, the court ordered the husband to pay interim maintenance of Rs 60,000 per month. The court ruled this after observing that his income is not less than 2 lakhs. The husband was not satisfied with the order and hence decided to file a petition in the high court, which was again dismissed.

The petitioner was a Muslim respondent who married a Christian in 2004 by performing Nikah, and registering their marriage under the ‘Special Marriage Act, 1954’. The petitioner already had two daughters from his previous marriage and from the second one, he had two more.

The court observed that “A mother who has custody of a child not only spends money on the upbringing of the child but also spent substantial time and effort in bringing up the child. One cannot put value to the time and effort put in by the mother in the upbringing of the child.”

The High Court proceeded in accordance with the finding of the Sessions and Trial court and noted that the petitioner had not been truthful in his disclosure. He had concealed his income in order to avoid paying maintenance to his wife and daughters. Therefore, the court further observed that the husband has a social, legal and moral responsibility to not only maintain his wife but also his children and therefore, in no way, can escape the duty of maintaining his daughters even if his wife is assumed to be earning.

“The expenditure as disclosed by the respondent wife on the three daughters is far in excess of Rs 60,000 per month, the amount that has been fixed as an interim measure by the trial court. Clearly, the remaining expenditure for bringing up the three daughters is being borne by the respondent wife from her own sources. Merely because the respondent wife is earning, does not give an excuse to the husband to avoid working or undertaking the responsibility of maintaining his children,” the court ruled.

The plea of the petitioner was hence dismissed.

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