Graduate wife can’t be compelled to work: Delhi HC

 Merely because the wife is a graduate, she cannot be compelled to work and it can’t be presumed that she is intentionally not working to claim maintenance from her estranged husband, the Delhi High Court has said.

The court’s observation came while dealing with a plea by a man seeking a reduction in interim maintenance payable to his wife from Rs 25,000 per month to Rs 15,000 per month on the ground that she has a B.Sc degree.

A bench headed by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait observed that there was no denial that the wife was a graduate, but she was never gainfully employed and there was no reason to interfere with the interim maintenance set by the family court.

“No inference can be drawn that merely because the wife is holding a degree of graduation, she must be compelled to work. It can also not be presumed that she is intentionally not working solely with an intent to claim interim maintenance from the husband,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, in a recent order.

The court also refused to enhance the maintenance amount on the wife’s plea, saying no ground was made out by her and the family court had reasonably considered her and their son’s expenditure.

The court, however, set aside the penalty of Rs 1,000 per day on the delayed payment of interim maintenance by the husband and directed that interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum be paid to the wife for the delayed payment of interim maintenance.

It also set aside the penalty of Rs 550 per day imposed on delay in payment of litigation costs.

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