Karnataka High Court Reduces Maintenance Order in Family Court Case

Overview of the Case

On March 20, 2024, the Karnataka High Court in Bengaluru, led by Hon’ble Justice Lalitha Kanneganti, reviewed a case involving a husband’s petition against a Family Court order. The Family Court had directed the husband to pay maintenance to his wife under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.). The case, originally filed in 2014, involved a couple married in January 2013, who soon faced marital discord leading to the wife seeking maintenance. The Family Court had awarded Rs. 8,000 per month as maintenance, which the husband contested.

Financial Disputes and Court’s Findings

The wife, claiming harassment and abandonment by her husband, sought Rs. 25,000 per month for maintenance and Rs. 1,00,000 for litigation expenses. She asserted that her husband, running an interior design business, earned Rs. 70,000 per month. Contrarily, the husband claimed he was merely a helper earning Rs. 200 per day and stated he could not afford the maintenance amount decided by the Family Court. The Family Court, relying partly on a visiting card suggesting his business involvement, estimated his income at Rs. 30,000 per month and set the maintenance amount at Rs. 8,000.

High Court’s Decision

The High Court noted several key points:

  • The husband had deposited Rs. 2,28,000 as ordered but the wife had not withdrawn the amount.
  • Despite being served notice, the wife did not contest the case further or appear in court.

The High Court scrutinized the basis on which the Family Court estimated the husband’s income. It found the evidence insufficient to support the conclusion that he earned Rs. 30,000 monthly. Consequently, the High Court revised the maintenance amount from Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 6,000 per month. The revised maintenance is to be paid from the date of the petition until the wife’s lifetime or until she remarries.

Final Orders

The High Court’s revised order mandated the husband to:

  • Pay Rs. 6,000 per month in maintenance.
  • Cover the remaining maintenance dues amounting to Rs. 4,92,000 within three months.

This ruling reflects a detailed consideration of the husband’s financial capacity and the non-participation of the wife in the ongoing proceedings. The adjustment aims to balance the financial responsibilities and ensure fair maintenance without undue burden on the husband.

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