Legal Advice

Wife claiming maintenance whereas she lived only a day with the husband

Question: My wife has recently resigned from her job and filed a maintenance case, demanding 30k per month. The details of my case are as follows: Duration of marriage: 1 year [lived separately since day 1] Children: Nil Marriage Act: Special Marriage Act. Wife's Education: BCOM + completed a company accountant course + cleared IPCC exams. Currently appearing for CA final exams. Wife's Employment: She was gainfully employed in an MNC private sector accounting firm, earning Rs 50K. However, she resigned two months before filing the petition. Wife's Residence: She is staying with her parents but is not mentioned in the petition. Husband's Education [Me]: BE, Husband's Residence: Rented Husband's Occupation: I was employed as an engineer in a mid-scale company, earning 70k. However, I have resigned and am now seeking higher position jobs. Husband's Liability: I have a personal loan for my brother's marriage of 3L, paying EMI 15k per month. As we have never lived together, do not have any children, and she is well-educated and was gainfully employed even after marriage, it seems she has purposefully resigned to mentally harass me.

Advise

It is astonishing to see that a wife, who spent only a day with her husband, is now claiming maintenance. Maintenance is a responsibility of the husband because after marriage he becomes the natural guardian of his wife. Therefore, for maintenance, the matrimonial relationship must be existing between the spouses. 

Section 125 of the code of criminal procedure (crpc) also incorporated the existence of marriage as a necessary element for claiming maintenance. If the wife is living apart without any reason, it proves that the wife has separated herself from the matrimonial obligations. In order to claim maintenance, the wife has to prove herself a dutiful wife. Failing which she cannot claim maintenance. As per sub section 4 of section 125 crpc, wife cannot claim maintenance if:

  • she is living in adultery, or 
  • without any sufficient reason, she refuses to live with her husband, or 
  • they are living separately by mutual consent

Your wife is living separately after the first day of marriage. She never intended to resume her matrimonial life because she has no faith or belief in the marriage. Hence, she cannot claim to be a wife only for claiming maintenance. 

The law is very clear, if a wife does not want to perform her matrimonial obligation she is not entitled to claim maintenance. If the wife has sufficient reasons for living apart e.g. cruelty or bigamy of husband then she is entitled for maintenance if her husband refuses or neglects to maintain her.

There must be sufficient reasons for living separately from the husband. When the wife claims maintenance living separately from the husband, she has to prove the guilt of the husband behind such a living. It does not matter that the wife has no intention to resume the matrimonial life. If the husband is the guilty party then the wife even getting divorce has the right to receive maintenance from her divorced husband. 

Your wife shall not get maintenance if you prove with evidence that the wife is living apart without any sufficient reasons. You should file your objection and contest this case. No need to worry because the wife is bound to prove that living separately is a fair decision based upon the guilt of the husband.

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow