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Ranjan .... (employed)     06 July 2016

Interim maintenance under section 24

Dear Lawyers,
I have filed a divorce petition on the grounds of mental illness and cruelty as my wife is suffering from psychotic disorders and the stated condition of my wife was not known to me until 1 years of marriage. I got married in Feb 2013 and filed the divorce petition in June 2015 as it was not conducive to live with her and also she has attempted suicude once and used to threaten me on multiple occassions. After that we had 4 rounds of mediation which failed and the Meditating officer asked for mutual settlement for which my wife and her parents denied.
In Dec 2015, they filed a maintenance under sec 24 claiming that my salary is 4300£  per month (I am working in London currently on deputation) and they asked for Rs1.45 Lakh  per month as maintenance. We submitted a rejoinder stating 3-4 reasons:
  1. Cost of living index difference between the two cities (London  and Ranchi). 
  2. My wife is an MBA + Honors in English, and if she is mentally okay, then she should not sit idle. 
  3. My salary was also stated wrong and its lower that what they stated, but yes I didn’t provide my salary slip as my lawyer argument was that the onus is on the respondent side to prove what they are claiming
  4. The maintenance should not be for luxurious life and she should give the details of her requirements
I reckon the court did not put much emphasis on these points (esp the cost of living index comparison) and granted a maintenance of Rs 40,000 per month from the date of application and Rs25,000 as litigation expenses.
My questions are as below:
  1. Should I proceed to the High court and file a petition against this order?
  2. Likelihood of the high court decisions in my favour?
  3. Does High court give options of mutual settlement and may recommend a mediation again?
  4. Can the amount go up further?
Any suggestions, recommendation, advice will be of very much help to me. Thanking in anticipation!
Regards,
Petitioner

 



 25 Replies

JustAdvisor (IT)     06 July 2016

you are caught in a fix. if you say your wife is capable of earning (MBA and all) - and hence maintenance may not be granted - you will find plenty of decisions in your favour - Wife will say that you are agreeing that i am mentally fit to work, then why divorce? your application may fall flat on face. so my suggestion is, accept wife is not capable to take care of herself and pay her the money. SC has said that wife should enjoy the same status as she was enjoying in her matrimonial home without leaving husband in poverty. that way 40k seems to be ok. i am not here to give you moral science lecture, but if you have decided to call it quits, 40k is a reasonable price to pay!

JustAdvisor (IT)     06 July 2016

Repeated Response...

YOGESHWAR. (ADVOCATE HIGH COURT-criminal /civil -youract@gmail.com)     06 July 2016

Even if you succeed in Divorce case still you have to pay maintenance.so what practical benefit you will get that you have to assess.

 

For the current order you should go to HC and find many other points than what stated from the application of the opponent in lower court.

 

There will be any technical issues to prolong the case.

Ranjan .... (employed)     06 July 2016

Thank you so much for you response. I am not saying maintence should not be granted. Please find below the argument in the rejoinder which we submitted. My question is shall we move to High court asking for lower maintence and that to be decided on the cost of living index between two cities?   

That in the reply of the paragraph 3 of the said petition it is to be stated that it is palpably false to say that due to the ill treatment of the petitioner and his mother, the respondent is still in shock. Here it is also to be stated that the respondent is a chronic patient of mental illness and during the negotiation of the marriage, her parents and relatives deliberately concealed the said factual condition of the mental illness. Now, the respondent as well as her parents with malafied intention is trying to deny the said factual position of mental illness of the respondent. Here it is also to be stated that at the time of the negotiation of the marriage, the petitioner was informed that the respondent is a normal lady with a qualification of Masters in Business Administration along with Honours in English subject. If it is true and the respondent is not a patient of mental illness then why she is sitting idle in her parental home and stating herself that she is fully dependent on her parents? The section 25 has been enacted for the purpose of providing monitory assistance to such spouse who is not capable of supporting herself/himself in spite of sincere efforts. Spouse well qualified to get service immediately with less efforts is not expected to remain idle to squeeze out his/her purse by cut in nature of pendente lite alimony. Wife well qualified women possessing sufficient qualification cannot be permitted to sit idle and put her burden on husband for demanding pendente lite alimony during the pendency of matrimonial petition. The statement of having no source of income and totally dependent on other person itself is construing that the respondent is a patient of mental illness and by concealing the said factual position the marriage was solemnized between the parties.  

Regards,

Petitioner.

 

YOGESHWAR. (ADVOCATE HIGH COURT-criminal /civil -youract@gmail.com)     06 July 2016

Your arguments will not support on the other hand it will support the opponent case since it will be your duty to support a suffering spouse.

 

There may be other technical issues which can be detailed after going thorugh all the papers.

Ranjan .... (employed)     06 July 2016

Thanks Yogeshwar for your response. Also, wanted to understand the role of cost of living index between two cities while deciding maintence? We stated a very important point which I reckon was ignored by the lower court. Will it be considered significant in the High court for which I shall challenge the order passed by lower court in the high court?

That here it is to be stated that the cost of living in London is very high. According to a survey it is found that a person needs about £4,601.61 (which comes to Rs 438,567.77) in London to maintain the same standard of living the person can have with Rs 64,000.00/- in Ranchi, assuming the rented house in both the cities),as because the consumer price in London is 334.11% higher than Ranchi

Born Fighter (xxx)     06 July 2016

Ranjan, you claiming that ur wife has a mental disorder does not mean that she cannot work /earn ......period ! There are several celebrities and even successful businessman who have openly admitted suffering from mental illness but are doing very well professionally.

Right now the case is at the interim stage and the court will not look at basis to approve/disapprove that ur wife is a mental case. 

If ur wife has a mental disorder then how did she complete MBA ?? ur stand in the court at this stage should be that ur wife's behaviour was irrational / irratic bcos of which it was becoming impossible to live a peaceful life with her. You may say that she may have faked to u that she is a mental patient OR by exhibiting behaviour of a mentally retarded person inorder to trouble/harass you with malifide intention so that u leave her and she can claim hefty alimony.. Whether ur wife is really suffering from mental disorder will be decided at evidence stage.

 

If u have not provided any documents to prove ur low income then its unlikely that maintenance will be reduced at HC unless u turn the tables and prove that ur wife is capable to earn and highly qualified. Did she have any work exp prior to marriage ??

 

Secondly you give a proposal to court to pay her maintenance for 6 months and support her to find a job for herself OR you arrange a job for her. Once she finds job then u stop paying maintenance to her. Game over !

 

Regarding standard of living issues between london and India u need to hire an expert lawyer who has handled similar cases, there are various factors to be considered and many local lawyers goof up dealing with this critical issue. let me know from which city you are so that i can suggest lawyer who can help you

 

Ranjan .... (employed)     06 July 2016

Thanks Born Fighter! I agree to you that even mental disorder (schizophrenia to be precise) people can work but its not conducive to live with her due to suicidal tendencies and abberant and cruel behaviour. It seems my wife and her parents just have malafide intetion to extort money from me under the provocation of their lawyer. 

The lower court didnt asked me to provide income evidence and my lawyer point was that the onus lies on the respondent side to prove what they say. But I can very well provide my income in High court if required, Plus the expenses. My concern is if High court considers the cost of living index while deciding maintenance? Can High court incerase the current amount furthur, if they dont find the reason satisfacory or they will simply dismiss my petition? I am from Ranchi, state of Jharkhand. Alternative, you can also give me you mobile number, so that I can reach out to you if possible. Thanks much!

 

JustAdvisor (IT)     06 July 2016

make a breakup of your monthly expense in London and show it to the judge next time when you meet his honour/his lordship. support your argument with bills.

A walk alone (-)     06 July 2016

You are saying lie. How can it's possible you don't know this within one year of marriage. Why don't you file fraud void marriage within one year. The story you are saying unbelievable. No one can live with mental people for one or more year. You just want divorce that's why you are saying her mentally ill. Shame on you. Only for divorce you want to prove her mentally ill. It may be possible only for divorce you tortured her so much that she goes in this situation.

Vibha   06 July 2016

  1. It seems maintenance awarded is in the range of 1/9 your income when converted to INR. 
  2. Indian courts have tendency to blindly grant 1/3 at interim stage and ignore other arguments like London cost of living vs Ranchi. In that sense you seem to have a won a favorable order.
  3. By challenging such order you run the risk that high court may increase the maintenance. This has ocurred in many cases, I would advise against dismissing such possibility.
  4. The case will easily run for 5 years or more. You can ask your counsel to approach your wife's counsel and propose a deal. INR 40,000 X 60 months is approximately what she will make during this trial, offer this amount as a lump sum in return for mutual consent divorce. Fighting the case will cost you same amount, cut your losses, offer to save time and legal fees for both sides. See how they respond.

JustAdvisor (IT)     06 July 2016

i will account for interest in this 24 lac @12% pa quarterly compounding and find present value. it should be lesser than 24 lacs. offer her that! see we have become deal breakers rather than lawyers :)

Vibha   06 July 2016

  1. It seems maintenance awarded is in the range of 1/9 your income when converted to INR. 
  2. Indian courts have tendency to blindly grant 1/3 at interim stage and ignore other arguments like London cost of living vs Ranchi. In that sense you seem to have a won a favorable order.
  3. By challenging such order you run the risk that high court may increase the maintenance. This has ocurred in many cases, I would advise against dismissing such possibility.
  4. The case will easily run for 5 years or more. You can ask your counsel to approach your wife's counsel and propose a deal. INR 40,000 X 60 months is approximately what she will make during this trial, offer this amount as a lump sum in return for mutual consent divorce. Fighting the case will cost you same amount, cut your losses, offer to save time and legal fees for both sides. See how they respond.

Vibha   06 July 2016

I apologize for accidental double posting.


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