Don’t allow wife to rob husband: Madras High Court

The Madras high court directed family courts not to use the popular adage of ‘beg, borrow or steal’ to pay maintenance since begging and stealing are prohibited under law.

Justice RMT.Teeka Raman gave the directive while lifting the order of attachment of salary of the husband to the tune of Rs 1, 38, 750 passed by the family court in Coimbatore and remanded the matter back to the family court with a direction to redo and re-determine the balance of maintenance, if any, and pass orders within 12 weeks. The judge was allowing a petition from the husband, which challenged an order of the family court in Coimbatore, attaching his salary towards arrears of maintenance.

The couple wed in March 1991 and a girl was born to them. Due to some dispute resulting in misunderstanding between the couple, the wife filed a petition before the family court in Coimbatore for dissolution of marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act and after contest the marriage was dissolved by a judgment in January 2007 and Rs 5,000 ordered towards maintenance of the child. Thereafter, the wife filed a petition before the family court for maintenance under section 125 of Cr.P.C for herself and her minor daughter.

The petition was disposed of on July 29, 2011, granting monthly maintenance of Rs 5,000 to the wife and Rs 2,500 to the child. Subsequently, on a petition for arrears filed by her, the family court directed the husband to pay Rs 1, 38, 750 on or before a cut off date, failing which it ordered attachment of salary. Aggrieved, the husband filed the present petition.

The judge said that the claim of the wife before the family court was that she was entitled to both maintenance awards granted under two different provisions under two different acts. While dealing with the maintenance claim of the wife under various acts or laws, the court has to adjust the smaller maintenance awarded under one provision of law as against the higher maintenance award in the other, on the principle of same relief under different provisions/laws.

The judge also cautioned the family court not to compel the husband to commit the prohibited act of begging and stealing.

As carried in DC

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