Kerala High Court Upholds Grant of Maintenance to Wife Voluntarily Left Husband

The Kerala High Court in the case Arun v. Reshma observed and has stated that the wife not being able to lead a peaceful life in matrimonial home, there may not always be ‘cruelty’ in view of the particular circumstances but the same could be a reasonable ground to deny ‘joint residence’ and same does not grant the husband any discretion to deny payment of maintenance.

The bench headed by Justice A. Badharudeen observed while dealing with an argument that wife may not be legally entitled for getting maintenance from husband after leaving matrimonial home voluntarily. The court stated that when a party seeks divorce on the ground of cruelty, there shall be sufficient pleadings wherein alleging cruelty, and an evidence to prove the cruelty, to succeed in the divorce petition. But difference of opinion otherwise, in view of the particular circumstances at the matrimonial home, however, the wife could not lead a peaceful life time and the same shall not always be ‘cruelty’, but these are also being a reasonable grounds to deny joint residence.

The court in such cases held that there would be wilful discretion to deny payment of maintenance. It has earlier been directed by the Family Court to a man, who being the revision petitioner, to pay Rs 4,000 maintenance to his wife who had claimed the same under Section 125(1) of Code of Criminal Procedure. Before the High Court, in the revision plea, it has been argued by the Husband that since she had left his company voluntarily and without any justified reasons and he had no liability for paying of the maintenance to his wife.

It has been contended by the counsel appearing for the husband that the wife is not being legally being entitled for getting maintenance since she has been willingly residing separately and that the case which is filed by the respondent on the ground of cruelty ended in acquittal. Further, the court stated that in the evidence it has been suggested that the wife left the matrimonial home since she could not reside there due to the particular circumstances prevailing over there.

Therefore, it has also been stated by the court that in view of the above , there being no reason to hold that the respondent is not entitled to get maintenance. Thus, it can only confirm the entitlement of maintenance found by the Family Court. The court while considering the fact that the women remarried in September 2022, it has been observed by the court that the entitlement of maintenance ceased from the date of remarriage. Adding to it, the court stated that revision petition is bound to clear the maintenance till this date. The maintenance amount has been reduced by the court amounting to Rs 3,500 after observing that actual income of the husband was not fully established.

Accordingly, the court ordered that it has been directed in the revision petition for clearing the entire arrears at the rate of Rs.3,500/- per month, starting from the date of petition till the date of remarriage, within a period of thirty days and on failure to do so, the respondents are at a liberty for executing the modified order, in accordance with law. The counsel, Advocate M R Sarin appeared for the Revision Petitioner The counsel, Advocate Badra Kumari K V appeared for the Respondent.

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-Ashish Kumar Sinha -Editor Legally Speaking -Ram Nath Goenka awardee - 14 Years of Experience in Media - Covering Courts Since 2008