Efforts of a wife to meet expenses by creating a source of income after her husband has failed to discharge his obligations of payment cannot be a reason to reduce the interim maintenance awarded to her, the Delhi High Court has said.
The high court’s observations came on an appeal by a man against a lower court order declining to modify an order directing him to pay a sum of Rs 8,000 per month towards the maintenance of his wife and Rs 3,000 per month for their minor child.
Before the high court, the husband sought reduction of the maintenance amount while arguing that besides the fact that his earnings dipped due to COVID-19, it was an admitted fact that the wife had started working with a school and later taken up a job with a start-up.
Rejecting the contentions, the high court observed that the husband was in arrears of about Rs 4,67,000 and if the wife started working to supplement the day-to-day expenditure of herself and the daughter, it could not be considered as a ground to reduce the maintenance.
“The efforts of the respondent (wife) to meet her expenses by creating some source of income in the sum of Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000 where the husband has failed to discharge his obligations of paying the maintenance and is in arrears of more than Rs 4,67,000, cannot be considered as a reason to modify/reduce the interim maintenance,” a bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Neena Bansal Krishna said in a recent order.
“Faced with such a financial crunch, if the respondent has started working and generated some source of income which is admittedly about Rs 10,000 per month to supplement day-to-day expenditure of herself and the daughter, it cannot be considered as a ground to reduce the maintenance,” it added.
The court observed that the husband is a senior architect having an experience of more than 20 years and although there was a decline in his business during the pandemic, it has again flourished.
“We hereby conclude that the grounds taken by the appellant (husband) for reduction in interim maintenance, have been rightly rejected by the learned Judge, Family Court. Accordingly, we find no infirmity in the impugned Order dated 16.03.2022, and the present Appeal is hereby dismissed along with pending applications,” the court said.