AP High Court rules no alimony if ex-wife is working and earning

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Hyderabad: The High Court has set aside the order of a lower court granting maintenance to a woman, who separated from her husband, on the ground that she is still working and getting income.

Justice B Siva Sankara Rao allowed a revision petition filed by one B Mahanti Ranjit Kumar of Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh challenging the order of the family court-cum-VII additional district and sessions judge, Eluru in West Godavari district, AP state.

As for the case, the woman had moved the family court for grant of maintenance of ` 10,000 per month, contending that after their marriage they lived happily just for five days. Later, suspecting her fidelity, he harassed her tried to drive her to  suicide so that he could marry another woman who might offer him more dowry.

Alleging that he had neglected her and claiming that she had no source of income to lead life independently, she urged the court to grant her maintenance, She said  her husband was working as lecturer with a monthly salary of ` 15,000. Moreover, he had landed property and fixed assets.

Refuting her claim, her husband had said that his wife lived with him for 12 days and deserted him and never visited his place thereafter. Her parents performed the marriage against her will as she was in  love with another man and used to talk with him on telephone regularly. And, she was not entitled to maintenance as she was working and able to maintain herself, he argued.

The family court gave a verdict in favour of the woman and awarded a maintenance of ` 4,000 a month. Aggrieved, the man moved the High Court for relief.

Justice Siva Sankara Rao of the High Court held that the woman was not entitled to maintenance as she was still working. “There is no proceeding showing termination of her work and the appointment order shows she is paid ` 20,000 a month.

Besides, the husband contends that he is an unemployed and has not even worked as a part-time lecturer and does not own any property and is living by taking up tuition.”  Taking into consideration the submissions of the petitioner (husband), the judge declared that the grant of maintenance of ` 4,000 by the lower court in favour of the wife and against the husband was unsustainable and liable to be set aside.

While allowing the petition, the judge made it clear that any amount paid so far was unrecoverable and further made it clear that in the event of she having no source of income for living in future, she can file a fresh petition seeking alimony by showing changed circumstances.

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