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HMA 24 Not To Equalize Income Of Wife With Husband

HMA 24 not to equalize income of wife with husband

  • Court: Hon’ble High Court of Delhi
  • Date: 12.02.2019
  • Case No.: MAT.APP(F.C.) 93/2018 & CM APPL 18317/2018
  • Title: KN Vs RG

Brief Facts:

  • Marriage between the parties solemnized on 24.06.2012 at New Delhi as per Hindu rites and ceremonies. No child was born out of the said wedlock. The parties separated on 03.09.2012 when the respondent/husband left for Singapore.
  • The husband earns around Rs. 13,00,000 per month working in Singapore and wife earns earns around Rs.1,25,000/- per month working in Delhi NCR.
  • Petition seeking a decree of nullity of marriage under Section 12(1)(a) & (c) of HMA was filed by respondent/husband on 24.11.2012, which is pending. The appellant/wife had filed an application under Section 24 of HMA claiming maintenance pendente-lite @ Rs. 2,50,000/- per month along with litigation expenses of Rs.1,50,000/-.
  • The learned Family Court vide the impugned order has dismissed the application of the appellant (wife) herein under Section 24 of the HMA for grant of maintenance pendente lite on the ground that the appellant/wife is highly qualified and has been working in reputed MNCs and is even presently employed, with a good salary.
  • The wife then moved the Hon’ble Delhi High court. The sum and substance of the argument is that the Family Court ought to have seen the huge gap in the incomes of the parties and awarded an interim maintenance as claimed by the appellant (wife) so that she could have a life style similar to the respondent. The contention of the appellant (wife) is that she is entitled to maintenance pendente lite @ Rs.2.50 lakhs per month, is primarily based on the fact that the respondent is earning in ‘dollars’ in Singapore.

Hon’ble Delhi high court held that:

  • We cannot agree with the contention of the appellant (wife) that merely because the respondent (husband) is earning in ‘dollars’ she is entitled to the maintenance claimed by converting his salary in dollars into Indian rupees. We agree with the respondent (husband) that his expenditure being in dollars, the salary being in dollars is a fact which cannot be overemphasized. We are supported in our view by a judgment of this court in Bindu Chaudhary vs. Deepak Suga reported at (2016) 234 DLT 108 (DB), where this court has held that if a person is employed in Dubai and earns in currency of that country, then he also spends in that currency. So, it is not open to the wife to convert his income in Indian currency and seek enhancement.
  • There is no doubt that the appellant (wife) has been working with reputed multinational companies. Her own income affidavit reveals that her net income is approximately Rs. 1 Lac per month. There is no child from the wedlock and she has no other liabilities. Looking at the totality of the facts, we find that this is not the case where the appellant is unable to maintain herself. In fact, the earnings of the appellant (wife) are sufficient to maintain herself and give her the required comforts of life.
  • The provisions of this section are not meant to equalize the income of the wife with that of the husband but are only to see that when divorce or other matrimonial proceedings are filed, either of the party should not suffer because of paucity of source of income and the maintenance is then granted to tie over the litigation expenses and to provide a comfortable life to the spouse. Where, however, both the spouses are earning and have a good salary, merely because there is some salary difference cannot be a reason for seeking maintenance. In the present case, what the appellant (wife) seeks is an equalization with the respondent (husband) which we are afraid cannot be granted under Section 24.
  • The Family Court in our view has rightly dismissed the application under Section 24 and we find no infirmity in the impugned order. We, therefore, uphold the order of the Family Court dated 23.03.2018. The present appeal is devoid of merits and thus, along with the pending application being CM No.18317/2018 is dismissed.

To read the complete judgement, click here.

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