Holding that an estranged woman living separately from her husband is entitled to the living standard of her husband, a Delhi court has enhanced the monthly maintenance of a woman from Rs 15,000 to Rs 19,000.
"It is well settled law in plethora of judgements that the wife is also entitled to live as per the status of her husband," said Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Savita Rao, while enhancing the maintenance of a North Delhi woman, living separately from her husband along with her son.
The court order came on an estranged couple's cross- appeals against a magisterial court order with the husband terming the maintenance amount of Rs 15,000, awarded to the wife by the magisterial court as steep and the wife seeking its enhancement.
While the man contended in his appeal that his wife too was earning, the woman countered that she was living along with her son and it was her estranged husband responsibility to maintain both of them as per his financial status.
The sessions court rejected the husband's contention that he has his own expenses and liabilities to meet while his wife herself was earning.
"It is for the appellant to manage his expense considering the liability of maintenance toward his family," the court said, adding "merely giving the details of expenses does not absolve him of his liability to maintain his wife and child." While working out the amount of maintenance to be paid by the man to his estranged wife and child, the court, however, took into account the couple's total income and divided it into equitable shares for all the three, including the child.
The court fixed an amount of Rs 19,000 to be given by the man to his estranged wife after dividing the couple's total income of Rs 60,000 into five parts - two each for
husband and wife and one for the child.
Out of Rs 36,000 thus fixed as the share for the woman and the child, the court deducted Rs 17,000 saying she was already earning this much and accordingly ordered the man to pay her Rs 19,000