All about 'Affidavit of Disclosure of Income, Assets and Liabilities' of parties in Maintenance Case
The Supreme Court in a judgment passed in a case titled Rajnesh Vs Neha decided on 04/11/2020, has laid down certain guidelines for determining the payment of interim compensation and quantum of maintenance to be paid in matrimonial cases. For which, a simplified Affidavit of Disclosure of income, assets and liabilities has been framed to expedite the process of determining the quantum of maintenance.
Since the affidavit to be filed by parties residing in urban areas, would require to be entirely different from the one applicable to rural areas, or tribal areas, comprehensive Affidavit of Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities have been shared for non-agrarian as well as agrarian deponents.
The State of Meghalaya has a predominantly tribal population, which follows a matrilineal system of society. The population is comprised of three tribes viz. the Khasis, Jaintia and Garo tribes. In Meghalaya, the youngest daughter is the custodian of the property and takes important decisions relating to the family property in consultation with her maternal uncle. The majority of the population is employed in the unorganized sector, such as agriculture. Under Section 10(26) of the Income Tax Act 1961, the tribals residing in this State are exempted from payment of income tax.
Therefore, on the suggestion of The Meghalaya State Legal Services Authority, a separate affidavit format has been shared for the declaration in Meghalaya.
Format of Affidavit for the State of Meghalaya
Guidelines concerning formats of Affidavit of Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities
The court has also framed guidelines in the exercise of its powers under Article 136 read with Article 142 of the Constitution of India:
The Affidavit of Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities annexed at Enclosures I, II and III of this judgment, as may be applicable, shall be filed by the parties in all maintenance proceedings, including pending proceedings before the concerned Family Court / District Court / Magistrate’s Court, as the case may be, throughout the country;
The applicant claiming maintenance will be required to file a concise application accompanied with the Affidavit of Disclosure of Assets;
The respondent must submit the reply along with the Affidavit of Disclosure within a maximum period of four weeks. The Courts may not grant more than two opportunities for submission of the Affidavit of Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities to the respondent. If the respondent delays in filing the reply with the Affidavit, and seeks more than two adjournments for this purpose, the Court may consider exercising the power to strike off the defence of the respondent, if the conduct is found to be willful and contumacious in delaying the proceedings. On the failure to file the Affidavit within the prescribed time, the Family Court may proceed to decide the application for maintenance on basis of the Affidavit filed by the applicant and the pleadings on record.
The above format may be modified by the concerned Court if the exigencies of a case require the same. It would be left to the judicial discretion of the concerned Court, to issue necessary directions in this regard.
If apart from the information contained in the Affidavits of Disclosure, any further information is required, the concerned Court may pass appropriate orders in respect thereof.
If there is any dispute with respect to the declaration made in the Affidavit of Disclosure, the aggrieved party may seek the permission of the Court to serve interrogatories, and seek production of relevant documents from the opposite party under Order XI of the CPC; On the filing of the Affidavit, the Court may invoke the provisions of Order X of the C.P.C or Section 165 of the Evidence Act 1872, if it considers it necessary to do so; The income of one party is often not within the knowledge of the other spouse. The Court may invoke Section 106 of the Evidence Act, 1872 if necessary since the income, assets and liabilities of the spouse are within the personal knowledge of the party concerned.
If during the course of proceedings, there is a change in the financial status of any party, or there is a change of any relevant circumstances, or if some new information comes to light, the party may submit an amended / supplementary affidavit, which would be considered by the court at the time of final determination.
The pleadings made in the applications for maintenance and replies filed should be responsible pleadings; if false statements and misrepresentations are made, the Court may consider initiation of proceeding u/S. 340 Cr.P.C., and for contempt of Court.
In case the parties belong to the Economically Weaker Sections (“EWS”), or are living Below the Poverty Line (“BPL”), or are casual labourers, the requirement of filing the Affidavit would be dispensed with.
The concerned Family Court / District Court / Magistrate’s Court must make an endeavour to decide the I.A. for Interim Maintenance by reasoned order, within a period of four to six months at the latest, after the Affidavits of Disclosure have been filed before the court.
A professional Marriage Counsellor must be made available in every Family Court.
Daaman wishes all our members all the best in their maintenance cases!