Delhi High Court: Amount spent by man to support divorced sister must be taken into account while deciding maintenance to wife

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By Fiona Mehta

 

In a recent matter of Sarita Bakshi vs. State & Anr, the Delhi High Court observed that a brother cannot be a mute spectator to his divorced sister’s miseries especially when she is in need of financial help.

Advocates GP Thareja and Rahul Singh appeared for the petitioner (wife). Advocate Saurabh Kansal appeared for the respondent (husband).

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said that in Indian culture, a brother and a sister have a deep sense of care towards one another. As a result, it was decided that the amount paid by a man to assist his divorced sister must be included while determining maintenance for his wife.

 

Facts:

Justice Sharma was hearing a revision petition from a wife who was contesting a family court ruling ordering her husband (Respondent-2) to pay her 6,000 in maintenance. According to reports, the spouse remarried and had a kid. Even though the sister was receiving some support from her ex-husband, his 79-year-old father and a divorced sister relied on him.

Justice Sharma noted that the man had remarried and had a kid and that a balance must be struck between supporting the ex-wife, son, and other dependents.

“It is the duty of the son/daughter to take care of his/her parents during the golden days of their life. The father of Respondent no. 2 is a non-earning member of the family who should enjoy his old age seeing his family happy. Thus, to make sure that the son is able to fulfil the wishes and wants of the father during his golden years, it becomes vital to consider some amount as expenditure for looking after and well-being of his father while determining the amount of maintenance,” the Court said.

Finally, the Court stated that relationships cannot be encapsulated in a mathematical formula in every situation and that each case must be judged in light of its unique circumstances, which may deserve the Court’s forbearance.

On the issue of dependency, the Court said that it can only be enhanced from a date when a person’s salary has increased, and the definition has to be read in light of the Indian culture.

 

Decision:

The court finally concluded that even if five shares are apportioned from the man’s salary the amount in favour of the petitioner’s wife would come to ₹8,000. However, considering the circumstances regarding the dependence of the aged father of the respondent on the respondent and other circumstances, approximately ₹7,500 will come to share of all the dependents, the court held.

The maintenance cannot be enhanced from the date of the application as the present petition is under Section 127 Cr.P.C. wherein, the maintenance amount has to be decided on the basis of the date on which the salary of the husband had changed,” the Court held.

 

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