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Wife cannot be denied maintenance on the sole ground that she is qualified and can maintain herself

Wife cannot be denied maintenance on the sole ground that she is qualified and can maintain herself

Alphonsa Joseph Vs Anand Joseph

Kerala HC


OP(Crl.).No. 274 of 2018

About/from the judgment:

The High Court set aside an order of Family Court refusing maintenance to wife on the basis of husband’s submissions.


Petitioner, who was respondent’s wife, filed a petition seeking maintenance for herself and her daughter under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973. The respondent undertook to pay his daughter’s fee directly to school but refused to maintain his wife. He submitted a memo stating that petitioner was a qualified doctor having BDS degree who refused to work and earn for herself, and therefore he was not willing to provide maintenance to her. On the basis of said memo, Family Court refused the petitioner’s claim. Aggrieved thereby, the instant petition was filed.


The Court noted that petitioner had been refused maintenance on the sole ground that she was qualified and could maintain herself. No reasons had been stated in the impugned order, other than making a reference to the respondent’s memo. The Court relied on the decision in Sunita Kachwaha v. Anil Kachwaha, (2014) 16 SCC 715 holding that even if the wife was earning some amount, that may not be a reason to outrightly reject her maintenance application. It was held that, in the instant case, Family Court should have applied its mind carefully before rejecting petitioner’s prayer for maintenance.


It was further opined that the concept of sustenance does not necessarily mean to live life in penury and roam around for basic maintenance. Wife is entitled to lead a life in the same manner as she would have lived in the house of her husband. Husband is not entitled to contend that he is not prepared to pay any maintenance and courts are not expected to accept the blatant refusal of the husband with folded hands.


In view of the above, the petition was allowed and Family Court was directed to pass fresh orders in the petition expeditiously and in any case within one month.

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