Delhi High Court Judgment: Section 24 of HMA not meant to equalize income of wife with husband

Hon'ble Delhi High Court Rejecting Wife's claim for Maintenance

Discover a Delhi High Court judgment in MAT.APP (F.C.) 93/2018 where wife sought financial support, stating her husband’s higher income and luxurious lifestyle in Singapore. However, Hon’ble Delhi High Court denied the appeal deeming her capable of supporting herself.

Summary of Delhi High Court Judgment:

  1. The appellant/wife had filed an application under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) claiming interim maintenance of Rs. 2,50,000/- per month, which was dismissed by the Family Court.
  2. The appellant and respondent were married in 2012 but separated shortly after. The respondent/husband was employed in Singapore, while the appellant/wife was working in India.
  3. The Family Court had dismissed the wife’s application for maintenance, considering her qualifications and employment in reputed MNCs, and stating that the parties’ statuses were similar. The court had also mentioned that the husband’s expenditure in Singapore should be taken into account, and the wife’s residence in Sarita Vihar was not a lower locality.
  4. The appellant argued that there was a significant income gap between the parties, with the husband earning more than INR 13 Lacs per month and living a luxurious life in Singapore, while the appellant earned around Rs. 1 Lac per month and had to shift to a rented accommodation due to financial constraints.
  5. The Family Court’s order was also challenged based on the appellant never having lived in Sarita Vihar, the husband’s alleged false income affidavit, and the immoveable properties owned by the husband.
  6. The respondent argued that the application was an abuse of process, claiming that the appellant had concealed her true income and had sufficient means to support herself.
  7. The court examined the income affidavits and found that both parties were well-qualified and had been employed in reputed companies. The appellant had a gross salary of Rs. 1,25,426/- per month, while the respondent earned about Rs. 13 Lacs per month.
  8. The court emphasized that maintenance should allow the recipient to maintain a similar status and standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. However, if a spouse is qualified and capable of earning, they should not burden the other spouse with maintenance.
  9. Referring to legal precedents, the court stated that Section 24 of the HMA was intended to assist those who were genuinely incapable of supporting themselves despite sincere efforts, and not to enable idleness or exploit the other spouse.
  10. Considering the qualifications, employment, assets, and lack of children in the marriage, the court upheld the Family Court’s decision to dismiss the application for maintenance.
  11. The court concluded that both parties were well-qualified and had the capacity to earn, and it was not the law’s intent to create an army of idle individuals seeking maintenance.
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