Delhi High Court Grants Maintenance to Earning Wife in Landmark Matrimonial Case

In a recent landmark decision, the Delhi High Court, presided over by Hon’ble Mr. Justice V. Kameswar Rao and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, ruled on MAT.APP.(F.C.) 231/2023, a case under Section 19(3) of the Family Courts Act, 1984, and Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The judgment, delivered on December 4, 2023, granted maintenance to an earning wife.

Background of the Case

The case involved the dissolution of the marriage between Wife (the appellant) and Hsuband (the respondent). The appellant filed a petition for divorce under Sections 13(1)(ia) & (ib) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, citing cruelty and desertion. Alongside the divorce petition, she submitted an application under Section 24 of the Act, seeking maintenance for herself and their minor daughter.

Family Court Proceedings

The respondent initially appeared but later chose not to contest the proceedings, leading to an ex-parte decision. The Family Court, in an order dated April 6, 2023, directed the respondent (husband) to pay maintenance of Rs. 20,000/- per month for the minor child but denied pendente lite maintenance to the appellant. Dissatisfied with the order, the appellant (wife) appealed to the Delhi High Court.

Image of a Judge Hammer. Text overlay says "Maintenance Granted to Earning Wife"

Delhi High Court's Observations

The High Court criticized the delay in disposing of the interim maintenance application and emphasized the need for timely resolution, adhering to the legislative intent. The judgment questioned the Family Court’s decision to deny maintenance to the appellant based on her earning capacity.

The High Court underscored that the husband’s obligation to provide maintenance is paramount, especially considering the legislative framework that prioritizes support for dependent wives and children. The Court disagreed with the Family Court’s view that the appellant, being capable of earning, does not require financial support.

Maintenance Awarded

The High Court, drawing adverse inferences due to the respondent’s non-participation, modified the order. It awarded maintenance of Rs. 15,000/- per month to the appellant and maintained the Rs. 20,000/- per month for the minor child. Arrears of maintenance were also directed to be cleared by the respondent within a specified timeline.


This judgment sets a precedent by emphasizing the timely resolution of maintenance disputes and recognizing the financial needs of both spouses, even if the wife is earning. It highlights the Court’s commitment to balancing the scales and ensuring a fair distribution of financial responsibilities.

Download Judgment

Click above to download this Judgment in the case titled MAT.APP.(F.C.) 231/2023. It can serve as a valuable resource for legal reference.

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