Maintenance is given to ensure that a woman can take care of herself and kids: Bombay High Court

Mumbai: In a significant ruling, the Bombay High Court recently held the purpose of granting maintenance to a wife is to give her some ‘respite’ and monetary assistance at regular intervals. The HC further said the primary objective of maintenance is not to give her a lump-sum amount and instead it is to ensure the wife looks after herself along with her children.

The observations were made by a single-judge bench of Justice Bharati Dangre while hearing a writ petition filed by a Pune-based man challenging the orders of a Family Court. The man had defaulted in paying the maintenance arrears of Rs 20, 000 and Rs 10, 000 as directed by the Family Court towards the maintenance of his wife and daughter, respectively.

The man had made the payments a day late than the time stipulated by the Family Court and resultantly, as per the pre-condition set by the court, it straight away rejected two of his applications seeking some reliefs pertaining to the schooling of his daughter.

Having heard all the contentions and submissions advanced, Justice Dangre said, “The very purpose of grant of interim maintenance by the Family Court is to give some respite to the wife, who is unable to maintain herself and her daughter. When any default is committed by the husband in paying the amounts, its grant do not serve the purpose to enable the wife to meet day to day expenses and specifically, when there is a child taking education and there might be several situation and circumstances like health of the child, which would require being met immediately.”

“The purpose of grant of maintenance is not to give her a lump-sum amount, but see to it that wife gets maintenance on a regular interval and she is able to manage the life of her child. In these circumstances, I am inclined to condone one day delay caused by the husband,” Justice Dangre observed.

Justice Dangre also slammed the Family Court for adopting a ‘too much technical’ view in rejecting the applications moved by the husband. “I believe the Family Court has taken a too much of a technical view for rejecting the applications of the husband and counted almost each day (delay in making payments) and rejected the pleas. Therefore, the orders passed by the court below are liable to be quashed and set aside,” Justice Dangre said.

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