A woman's plea, seeking maintenance for herself from her former husband has been dismissed by the Delhi High Court on the ground that she had "sufficient means to maintain herself".
A bench of Justice Suresh Kait gave its order on a plea by Central Delhi resident Neelam Khanna (name changed), against a sessions court order, which had set aside a magisterial court order to her former husband V P Sharma to give her an interim maintenance of Rs 5,000 per month.
"During her cross-examination, in the petition seeking maintenance, the petitioner, while asserting that she is living on mercy of relatives and friends, has failed to name even a single person from whom she had taken debt or loan. This proves that she has sufficient means to maintain herself," said Justice Kait.
Khanna had told the high court that the sessions court had failed to consider that she is unemployed and is not earning her livelihood. She had further said the lower court had also ignored her submission that her husband is having rental income from various properties.
Sharma, however, opposed his former wife's plea pointing out that she had made him part with a flat and shop in South Delhi in 2002 as per a deal for divorce with mutual consent and she was having sufficient income to maintain herself.
As per the deal, she was not to claim any maintenance for rest of her life after the divorce, which she gave him after securing a major chunk of his properties, said Sharma.
"With mutual consent, we both separated from each other in 2003. The petitioner was even given equal shares in the property," said Sharma's counsel.
Sharma's counsel told the court that Khanna sold the shop and the flat, given to her by Sharma, and purchased a double storied building in Central Delhi, from which she is getting a rent of around Rs 40,000 per month.
He said the petitioner is living lavishly in contrast to her former husband, who has been forced to live in an unauthorised colony and that too on rent.
"The petitioner backtracked from the said settlement and continued with the litigation vigorously," the counsel said.
"The petitioner has concealed the fact that just before filing this petition mentioned above, she got admitted her adopted daughter to a prestigious, high-end public school and is spending more than Rs 30,000 per month on her," Justice Kait said,
while upholding the session court observation that there is no mode of recovery if later on it is found that the wife has sufficient means to maintain herself.
Endorsing the sessions court order, Justice Kait also said Khanna has enough means to maintain herself, as she is living in her own house, whose monthly rental is Rs 80,000 whereas respondent is living in a rented house in an unauthorised colony whose rental is Rs 8,000 per month.
"Moreover, she is running a nursing home in the basement of property in South Delhi, whose monthly rent is Rs 25,000 per month," the court observed.