The Bombay High Court ruled that mere possession of qualifications by wife, cannot ipso facto be a reason to deny Interim Maintenance.
Petitioner instituted Petition before the Family Court, Jalgaon seeking annulment of marriage with respondent.
In that application, she filed an application under Section 24 of the Act, 1955 for grant of interim maintenance. The Family Court rejected the application essentially on two counts: that petitioner possesses higher qualifications and that on her social media status, she had made a declaration to the effect that she had secured a job in a company in London.
Advocate Deshmukh submitted that mere possession of qualifications by petitioner could not have been a reason for denial of interim maintenance in the light of the position that petitioner is actually jobless.
He further submitted that capacity or ability to earn is different from actual earning.
He contended that the petitioner has not been earning anything and despite the factum of absence of any job to petitioner being established before the Family Court, the application for interim maintenance has been erroneously rejected.
Advocate Nimbalkar, appearing for the respondent, contended that if the wife is having ability and capability to earn, but sits ideal, she cannot be awarded maintenance.
He submitted that petitioner possesses qualification of Masters in Engineering and is in a position to easily earn a job for herself. That, therefore, no maintenance needs to be awarded to her.
Referring to the printouts taken from the account of petitioner of Facebook and Whatsapp he contended that petitioner was not only offered employment in UK based company having a salary of 2000 pounds, but various reactions given by her to messages congratulating her would indicate that she had indeed accepted the job offer.
The single judge bench of Justice Sandeep V. Marne observed that apart from the social media post, respondent has not put on record any other concrete material to prove that petitioner actually secured any employment or she has been working and earning.
“If the petitioner is indeed working, the respondent could have produced the relevant papers showing proof of income earned by her in the form of bank statements, Income Tax Returns etc. However, nothing of that sort is placed on record. It would therefore be safe to assume that petitioner is not engaged in any employment and has not been earning any income for herself” the court added.
The bench said that no doubt, the act of Petitioner-wife in posting the letter of appointment, which she later claims to be fake, on social media platform is not commendable and she should have restrained herself from doing so without first verifying the genuineness of the offer.
It was held by the court that the Petitioner being unemployed, possession of higher qualifications by her on the strength of which she could make an endeavor to secure job as well as net monthly income of husband as Rs.66,050/-, the ends of justice would meet if petitioner is awarded interim maintenance of Rs.7500/- during the pendency of the proceedings before the Family Court.
Case title: Aboil alias Yugandhara v/s Tejpal
Citation: Writ petition no.2668 of 2021