HC: Husband showed monthly income as 10000 and Family court/HC fixed monthly maintenance as 20000!!!
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY
BENCH AT NAGPUR, NAGPUR.
WRIT PETITION NO. 1249 /2011
Mr Harish s/o Nandlal Gaba
Aged 42 years, occu: Business
R/o 44/17A, Saraswati Vihar
Opp: Reliance Web World Mall Road
Amritsar (Punjab). .. …PETITIONER v e r s u s
Smt. Monica Harish Gaba
Aged 39 years, occu: Hosuewife
R/o C/o Laxmandas Narang,
Op: Avanti Hospital, Dhantoli,Nagpur
Tah. & Dist. Nagpur. …RESPONDENT ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Mr. H D Dangre, Advocate for the petitioner
Mr.K M Nankani, Advocate for respondent
……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. CORAM: R.M.SAVANT, J.
DATED : 19TH JULY,2011,
ORAL JUDGMENT :
Rule. With the consent of the parties, made returnable forthwith and heard.
2. The above petition takes exception to the order dated 2.12.2010 passed by the learned Principal Judge, Family Court, Nagpur by which order, the petitioner-herein has been directed to pay Rs.20,000/- per month towards maintenance pendente lite from the date of the application till the disposal of the main petition.
3. The facts involved can be stated thus : The marriage between the petitioner and the respondent was solemnized on 29.11.1993. The petitioner-husband is resident of Amritsar (Punjab); whereas the respondent-wife was residing with her parents at Nagpur. The petitioner and the respondent have a daughter by name, Taniya, who is aged about 15 years. It appears that on account of the marital discord, the respondent left the matrimonial house on 1.4.2009 along with her daughter Taniya. The petitioner thereafter filed an application under section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act for restitution of conjugal rights in the Court of learned Civil Judge, Sr.Dn.,Amritsar. It appears that the relations between the parties came to such a pass that criminal complaints were filed against the petitioner and his family members. It appears that thereafter the respondent-wife filed a petition u/s 13 (1) (ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act for dissolution of marriage and return of stridhan which petition was numbered as A-445/2009 before the Family Court at Nagpur. In the said petition, the respondent-wife filed an application which was 3
numbered as Exh. A under section 24 of the said Act for grant of maintenance @ Rs. 25,000/- pendente lite and Rs. 50,000/- as litigation expenses.
4. It was the case of the respondent-wife that the petitioner was doing business in the name and style of “Taniya Jewellers” and was dealing in gold and diamond jwellery. It was the case of the respondent that the monthly income of the petitioner was Rs.1,25,000/- ;wheres the respondent was at the mercy of her parents and her friends for survival. It was further the case of the respondent that considering the lifestyle to which she was used to while staying with the petitioner, a sum of Rs. 25,000/- be fixed as maintenance pendente lite so that she could take care of herself and her daughter who is now past 15 and who is studying in X standard, so that they could have the same life-style which she was used to while staying with the petitioner. To the said application, the petitioner filed his reply and inter alia denied the claims and contentions of the respondent. It was denied that the petitioner was doing the business in the name and style of “Taniya Jewellers”. It was further denied that his income was Rs.1,25,000/-. The petitioner annexed the Income Tax return form for the assessment year 2007 -08 wherein his income was shown as Rs.1,07, 037/- for the assessment year in question. It was further the case of the petitioner that the respondent was running 4
a Boutique, out of which she was earning approximately Rs.12,000 per month.
5. The Family Court considered the said application Exh.8 filed by the respondent for maintenance pendente lite and considering the respective cases thought it fit to fix the interim maintenance at Rs.20,000/- per month. The gist of the reasoning of the Family Court was that the petitioner herein has not filed any document to show that his income was Rs.10,000/- per month and on the basis that the income out of the jewelery shop must be more than Rs.1,00,000/- per month, the Family Court deemed it fit to fix the maintenance pendente lite in the said sum of Rs.20,000/- by the impugned order dated 2.12.2010 as indicated above. It is the said order which is the subject-matter of challenge in the above petition.
6. Heard learned counsel for the parties. Mr. H D Dangre, learned counsel for the petitioner sought to raise three contentions: Firstly that the petition filed in the Family Court, Nagpur was not maintainable in view of Section 19 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 ; secondly that there are no pleadings in support of the claim of Rs.25,000/- as maintenance and thirdly that he has never deserted the respondent and an order of Rs.5000/- was already operating against him in the domestic violence 5
proceedings adopted by the respondent.
7. Per contra, it is submitted by Shri Nankani, learned counsel appearing for the respondent-wife that the impugned order passed by the Family Court need not be interfered with in the facts and circumstances of the case, when the petitioner admittedly is not working and has to look after a 15-year old daughter who is studying in X standard. Learned counsel would contend that the petitioner herein has very cleverly not disclosed his income from the business of Taniya Jwellers and has sought to merely rely upon the return filed under the Income Tax Act. Learned counsel would contend that in the facts and circumstances of the case, the interim maintenance fixed at Rs.20,000/- need not be interfered with.
8. Having heard learned counsel for the parties, in my view, the order fixing interim maintenance need not be interfered with save and except to the extent that would be mentioned hereinafter:
9. It is pertinent to note that from the documents which the petitioner himself has filed in the trial Court, it is ex-facie clear that the petitioner is carrying on business in the name and style of “Taniya Jewellers”. If it was the case of the petitioner that his income from the said Jewellery business was Rs.10,000/-, he should have 6
produced the relevant documents in that behalf. The trial Court in the absence of any material produced by the respondent was right in drawing an inference that it is impossible to accept that the income from the jewelery business is only Rs.10,000 per month. It is further pertinent to note that the petitioner has specifically averred as regards the life-style which she was enjoying while she was staying with the petitioner in the matrimonial home. The petitioner also does not dispute the fact that their daughter is now 15 years old and is studying in X standard in a reputed school in the city of Nagpur. Considering the said facts, in my view, the Family Court has proceeded on the correct premise that the respondent would be entitled to the same standard which she enjoyed while she was in the matrimonial home.
10. The fact that the daughter is studying in X standard would also be a relevant fact while considering the issue of maintenance pendente lite as the maintenance is sought in respect of respondent-wife as also the daughter. Learned counsel for the respondent-wife in the course of arguments submitted that the fees of the school wherein the daughter of the petitioner and the respondent studying is in the sum of Rs.80,000/- per year. Considering the said aspect the maintenance pendente lite has to be commensurate with the said expenses that the respondent wife is incurring for her own maintenance as well as the maintenance of the 7
daughter. However, one fact cannot be lost sight of is that the respondent wife is already getting Rs.5000/- in the proceedings filed under the Domestic Violence Act by the respondent at Nagpur. Hence, the maintenance pendente lite is required to be interfered with to the extent of reducing it by Rs.5,000/- to make it Rs. 15,000/- per month. In my view the issue of the jurisdiction of the Family Court at Nagpur need not be gone into while considering the issue of interim maintenance. Save and except the modification as aforesaid, no interference is called for with the impugned order dated 2.12.2010 passed by the Family Court. The Writ Petition is, therefore, allowed to the extent above. Rule is accordingly made partly absolute. Parties to bear their respective costs. JUDGE