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Rajesh Kumar (Advocate)     14 May 2009

No Maintenance to able bodied educated women

No Maintenance to Able Bodied Educated Women: As per newspaper report (Times of India, 14.05.2009), the District Court in Delhi Refused maintenance to a wife who was found able bodied and educated. Justice Rajendra Shastri said, “An able bodied person expected to maintain himself and family members depended on him. The same is equally applicable to his wife. In an advanced society like ours, a woman who is young, healthy and well versed cannot afford to sit idle, particularly when facing difficult circumstances, as the applicant in this case.” Unquote. The judgment is also took into consideration the applicant wife conduct like elopement of wife with his lover, abandonment of minor child and health of the husband. Nevertheless, the judgment is a step towards making maintenance laws, what it is. Maintenance is not a bounty. It is not a birth right of a wife. It cannot be claimed as a matter of right. It is for a women, who cannot maintain herself & who has done the duties of a pious wife, to claim from her husband. Any women who has not done the duty of a pious wife, must not be entitled to claim maintenance from her husband. The other point is “ability to maintain herself”. A young healthy women, who is educated (even when not educated, can work as maid- many uneducated women are maintaining themselves that way) cannot be classified to be not able to maintain herself. The test is , whether a women of applicants ability is able to maintain themselves in the society or not- if yes, no maintenance- if no, there is a case for maintenance. Maintenance laws needs to be applied strictly and in rare circumstances. It is usurpation of fruits of labour of a man in the guise of gender biased welfare laws. Such usurpation cannot be allowed to be made in a routine manner.


 45 Replies

adv. rajeev ( rajoo ) (practicing advocate)     14 May 2009

IT is an order of the Dist., Court, what the High Court says it is to be looked into. Any this order creates some relief to the husbands. Usually maintenance cases filed because of the small disputes between the husband and wife and there are aslo cases ecause of the negligence of the husband wife suffers. This order may creates new point.

Rajesh Kumar (Advocate)     14 May 2009

The case shows that Men's Right activism has started bearing some fruits.

Swami Sadashiva Brahmendra Sar (Nil)     14 May 2009

nice and appreciable judgment !

Rajesh Kumar (Advocate)     14 May 2009

Normally the court doesnot take into consideration as to when can we say that the applicant is not able to maintain herself. It is not wilingness to maintain herself, or wish to maintain herself as a queen- it is ability to maintain herself.

I find is sickening when the court grant maintenance for "maintenence of status"- what status a human being has if he/she cannot maintain itself.

Swami Sadashiva Brahmendra Sar (Nil)     14 May 2009

I agree with you mr. rajesh. however it is status of husband that is to be considered by court , not of the applicant wife.

Carlisle Collins (Samaritan)     15 May 2009

“Status of husband” be damned! Once the woman has cut off ties with her husband, she has cut off ties with his “status” as well! What the Hell are you advocating? That the woman retains the ‘right’ of appropriating her former husband’s earnings even though there is no longer an intimate/personal bond between them? If so, equitable reciprocity requires the former husband to avail from the ex-wife selected marital privileges outside of marriage either by him directly or vicariously through his friends! Fair is fair! What do you say now?

Rajesh Kumar (Advocate)     15 May 2009

What carlisle is saying may appears odd or inappropriate, but is very true.

When a wife leave her husband, she leaves her husband's stauts too. Further, every relationship in this world has "quid pro quo". The law has to think as what responsibility it is imposing on wife/ex wife for receiving maintenance. Claim of maintenance cant be based on charity.

Further, a women who has brought disrepute on the husbands family by making false allegations in court, or eloping with her lover or failing to do pious duties of wife must never be eligible for maintenance. 

Swami Sadashiva Brahmendra Sar (Nil)     15 May 2009

I do agree mr. Rajesh

Rajesh Kumar (Advocate)     15 May 2009

Wife alleges that husband is a criminal- and they want to live on the income of such criminal. Furthey, they also want to raise their child on the income of such criminal! Isn't it funny? 

Swami Sadashiva Brahmendra Sar (Nil)     15 May 2009

yes, for such kind of ladies every everything to distroy the husband is a fun...

Swami Sadashiva Brahmendra Sar (Nil)     15 May 2009

See also, this judgment of Singapore :

Gangadharan Gopi v Sartha d/o Venka Dasalam
[2009] SGHC 107

Suit No:    D 604729/2002, RAS 720007/2009
Decision Date:    30 Apr 2009
Court:    High Court
Coram:    Tan Lee Meng J
Counsel:    Appellant/Petitioner in person, Lalita Seenivasan (Virginia Quek Lalita & Partners) for the respondent

Subject Area / Catchwords   
Family Law




30 April 2009


Tan Lee Meng J:

1       The appellant, Mr Gangadharan Gopi (“Mr Gopi”), who appeared in person, appealed against the decision of District Judge Tan Peck Cheng (“DJ Tan”) on 12 February 2009 to vary her previous order on the division of matrimonial property and to order him to pay his former wife, the respondent, Mdm Sartha d/o Venka Dasalam (“Mdm Sartha”), arrears in maintenance fees, amounting to $6,150. After hearing the parties, I dismissed the appeal and now give the reasons for my decision.

2       Mr Gopi and Mdm Sartha were married on 11 September 1982. They were divorced in 2004 on the ground that they had been separated for more than 4 years. The Decree Absolute was granted on 22 July 2004. At the material time, Mr Gopi and Mdm Sartha had 3 children and the latter was granted custody, care and control of all their children.

3       The other ancillary orders made by DJ Tan on 26 January 2004 that are relevant to the present proceedings are as follows:

(i)    Mr Gopi was to pay Mdm Sartha $50 a month for her maintenance, $300 a month for her maintenance of their second child and $250 a month for the maintenance of their third child.

(ii)  The matrimonial property at Blk 249 Yishun Avenue 9 #02-199 Singapore 760249 (“the matrimonial property”) was to be sold in the open market and Mdm Sartha was entitled to 25% of the nett proceeds of sale after payment of the costs and expenses of sale and payment of outstanding service and conservancy charges while Mr Gopi was entitled to the remaining 75%. Mr Gopi was required to put back into his own Central Provident Fund (“CPF”) account the amount utilized from the said account for the purchase of the matrimonial property.

4       Mr Gopi appealed against DJ Tan’s decision on maintenance and division of the matrimonial property. The appeal was heard in May 2004 by VK Rajah JC, as he then was, who dismissed the appeal and ruled that DJ Tan’s orders on maintenance and division of the matrimonial property were to stand.

5       Subsequently, Mr Gopi sold the matrimonial property and purchased another flat for himself without paying Mdm Sartha her 25% share of the nett proceeds of sale of the matrimonial property.

6       To safeguard Mdm Sartha’s position, on 12 February 2009, DJ Tan varied the Order of Court of 26 January 2004 as follows:

The CPF Board shall release from [Mr Gopi’s] CPF account the sum of $36,597.00 to [Mdm Sartha] being her share of the proceeds of sale of the matrimonial flat known as Blk 249 Yishun Avenue 9 #02-199 Singapore 760249 within 14 days of the service of this Order on the CPF Board.

7       DJ Tan also ordered Mr Gopi to pay Mdm Sartha arrears in maintenance fees amounting to $6,150.

8       Mr Gopi appealed against DJ Tan’s decision.

9       DJ Tan’s order that the CPF Board release the sum of $36,597.00 from Mr Gopi’s CPF account to Mdm Sartha will first be considered. Mr Gopi asserted that that his former wife had done nothing to deserve 25% of the nett sale proceeds of the matrimonial property and that she would be “unjustly enriched” if $36,597.00 was withdrawn from his CPF account for her benefit. He repeated the assertion that he had made in previous proceedings that Mdm Sartha had benefited considerably from the sale of another property that he and she owned. However, all these are irrelevant for the simple reason that the issue of Mdm Sartha’s share of the matrimonial property had been conclusively settled in 2004 when VK Rajah JC affirmed the decision of DJ Tan that Mdm Sartha was entitled to 25% of the nett proceeds from the sale of the said property. As Mr Gopi has not paid Mdm Sartha the amount due to her (and indeed claimed that he had no money to do so), DJ Tan’s order that the CPF Board release $36,597.00 from Mr Gopi’s CPF account to pay Mdm Sartha cannot be faulted in any way.

10     As for the appeal against DJ Tan’s order to pay the arrears in maintenance fees, it was noteworthy that Mr Gopi had not complied with the maintenance order on numerous occasions. He said that his circumstances were now different as he had remarried and his health is failing. He proposed to pay the outstanding arrears in maintenance fees in instalments of $50 per month. Understandably, Mdm Sartha baulked at this proposal as it would take Mr Gopi more than 10 years to pay the arrears, which amount to $6,150. Mr Gopi is entitled to file an application for the reduction of the maintenance fees payable by him but what is presently owed to Mdm Sartha must be paid forthwith.

11     On the question of costs, Mr Gopi said that he should not be made to pay Mdm Sartha’s costs because he is a layman and his intention in filing the present appeal was merely to seek an “explanation” from the court on his position. Mdm Sartha’s counsel, Ms Lalita, rightly pointed out that Mr Gopi knew exactly what he was doing when he filed his appeal documents. In the circumstances, her client was entitled to costs for the appeal.

12     For the reasons stated, Mr Gopi’s appeal was dismissed with costs.

Rajesh Kumar (Advocate)     27 May 2009

The only solution lies in not getting married-


Carlisle Collins (Samaritan)     27 May 2009

Rajesh Saheb: I hate to drag this argument beyond the scope of the discussion at hand but your comment provokes some serious deliberation on planning contingency measures for likely changes in a family’s identity in the near future. I realize your suggestion was made in jest but, at best, is only a short lived consideration as it once was in the USA. As India becomes increasingly ‘progressive’ in social mores and tolerant of diluted morals, we are likely to see extra marital, live-in, fornicative relationships being accorded equivalent recognition to traditional matrimony and euphemistically termed ‘Common Law Spouse’ as it dons a tunic of respectability. But why stop there? Why discriminate by excluding gays, lesbians, etc. whose domestic role is identical to that of domestic partners in a marital/common law scenario? After all, isn’t Justice meant to be impartial?

Swami Sadashiva Brahmendra Sar (Nil)     27 May 2009

thank you rajesh ji for providing an interesting web link

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