Mumbai: Husband cannot escape liability by saying he is jobless, says Court

Upholding the order of a Kurla magistrate court that had ordered a dentist to pay a total interim maintenance of Rs. 20,000 monthly to his wife and child in a domestic violence case, a sessions court has said that a husband cannot escape liability to ensure well being of his wife and child merely by stating that he is jobless.

The court said in his order that both are highly educated and well placed and viewed from the standard of living they must have been living with the claim of the wife for monetary relief needs to be addressed. “The appellant being the husband and father has the primary responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of his wife and child...considering the prevalent circumstances and consistent everyday rise in price of all essential commodities, also the need to have a roof commensurate with the standard of both parties, the monetary relief was to be granted accordingly...the appellant cannot escape such liability merely by stating that he is jobless and by conveniently avoiding to disclose what income he makes to earn a livelihood,” Additional Sessions Judge UM Padwad said.

34-year-old Mohd. Nadeem Bijle had challenged the magistrate’s order and said it erred in taking into consideration his scholarship amount which he earned while pursuing his Phd in Hong Kong University. He said he does not earn anything other than the tutorship fee of 630 HKD and that he had now returned to India in October last year as his education was completed and was presently jobless.

His wife, also a dentist by qualification, was a homemaker. She had allegedly started residing separately in Kurla due to harassment by husband and his family and was unable to maintain herself.

The court further said that his offer to resume cohabitation seems opportunistic and only to escape liability. It added that his failure to pay even a single rupee to his wife and child since they left him and later despite a specific order directing him to pay them, belies the genuineness in his offer to resume the relationship.

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