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The Calcutta High Court dismissed a wife's request for extra support under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), observing that the wife's plea for enhanced maintenance after restricting a considerable source of the husband's income amounts to an abuse of the legal process.

"This is a case where a woman stops a considerable source of income of the husband and then demands an improvement of maintenance, a particularly tough scenario for the husband," Justice Shampa Dutt (Paul) stated. This amounts to a violation of the legal process and is therefore detrimental to the interests of justice. In the eyes of the law, both parties are equal, and the court must ensure that neither party suffers unjustly."

The Court was essentially ruling on a revision appeal filed against an order of the competent Judicial Magistrate in which the petitioner (wife) was granted Rs 4000 per month in maintenance for herself and Rs 3000 per month in maintenance for her young daughter.

Petitioner application 

The petitioner had applied with the competent Judicial Magistrate under Section 125 of the CrPC, asking for Rs. 20,000 per month maintenance for herself and Rs. 5000 per month maintenance for her daughter.

Following a review of the evidence, the Court noted that the husband is a former Indian Air Force personnel whose pension had been suspended due to a complaint lodged by the petitioner with Air Force authorities.

Court observation 

As a result, the Court recognized that the husband's income has been significantly reduced, and thus the amount of support to be granted to the petitioner must be proportionately reduced.

"It is for the petitioner to take the required efforts to ensure that the pension from the Air Force is released in favour of the opposite party so that the prayer for improvement of maintenance for the petitioner can be considered. "The opposite party cannot be burdened when it is the petitioner's behavior that has resulted in the suspension of the petitioner's Air Force pension," the Court added.

As a result, the Court ordered that the amount of support given to the petitioner's wife remains unaltered, subject to a final adjudication by the relevant trial court on whether the petitioner left her matrimonial residence for reasonable and adequate reasons.

For the computation of the quantum of maintenance, the trial court was also asked to rely on the Supreme Court's decision in Rajnesh vs. Neha.

The Court, however, amended the amount allowed for the young daughter's maintenance by exercising its inherent powers after remarking that Rs 3,000 per month is manifestly insufficient to support a school-going child 

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