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  • The Madhya Pradesh HC has observed, in Rashi Gupta and ors vs Gaurav Gupta that where the financial of the parties is one of the relevant considerations for adjudicating the lis, asking the husband to produce his salary slip cannot be termed as a violation of his privacy.
  • In the instant case, the husband was directed by the Family Court, Gwalior to pay 18,000/- as maintenance to his wife. However, it was alleged that he was trying to delay the matter. Thus, it was ordered by the Court that he file a reply within a span of two weeks, failing which the Court would proceed ex parte. He was also directed to produce the appropriate documents in support of hsi submission regarding his salary structure.
  • In response to the aforesaid order, the respondent (husband) filed his reply but did not file the salary slip on the ground that compelling the husband to file the salary slip would be violative of the protection guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • The Counsel for the respondent/husband also alleged that forcing him to file his salary slip would also stand in violation of Article 20 of the Constitution, as no one can be forced to give evidence against himself.
  • At the outset, the Hon’ble HC observed that the instant proceedings arose out of section 125 of CrPC, and thus there was no question of conviction of the respondent as he is not an accused. Therefore, Article 20(3) would not apply to the case at hand, as it states that no person accused of an offence can be compelled to be a witness against himself.
  • The Court referred to the decision of the Apex Court in Shamima Farooqui vs Shahid Khan (2015) SCC wherein it was observed that a wife is entitled to enjoy the same status, which she would have otherwise enjoyed in her matrimonial home.
  • The Court also referred to the landmark case of Rajnesh vs Neha (2021) SCC wherein it was held that while adjudicating the quantum of maintenance, the status of the parties is of a relevant consideration. It was held that the financial capacity of the husband, his actual income, reasonable expenses for his own maintenance and dependant family members, and his liabilities would be required to be taken into consideration while adjudicating the amount of maintenance.
  • Thus, in light of the aforesaid discussion, the Court held that the refusal by the respondent to place the salary slip on the record can allow the Court to draw an adverse inference against the respondent.
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