The Bombay High Court has dismissed a petition filed in review of an order dated November 28, 2016, wherein maintenance payable to one Rupal Doshi and her two children was enhanced to Rs. 25,000 from Rs. 7,000.
The marriage between Rupal and her former husband Mayur was dissolved by a decree of the family court in 2010 and maintenance of Rs. 7,000 was granted.
A division bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice CV Bhadang noted that in an earlier order, while hearing Mayur’s appeal against the family court order, another bench of the high court had observed that Mayur’s income for the year 2005-06 (a year before Rupali filed application for maintenance) was Rs. 46 lakh, while his income for the next year was shown to have drastically reduced to Rs. 2 lakh.
The high court had noted that an adverse inference will have to be drawn against the review petitioner for not showing correct income. It was observed: “The income-tax returns by themselves do not indicate the true income, as it is possible to manipulate the accounts for the purpose of avoiding payment of tax and/or maintenance.”
The petitioner was directed to file an affidavit detailing his income-tax returns from the year 2000-2001 to 2005-2006 along with the returns of his brother and disclosing whether the applicant and his brother are carrying on a joint family business.
No such affidavit was filed.
Petitioner’s advocate Rashid Khan argued that his client had stopped doing his own business after 2006 and, since 2011, had been working as a site supervisor.
Khan submitted that the figure of Rs. 46 lakh was incorrect as his client made only Rs. 86,000 that year and presently he makes Rs. 2,25,000 per annum.
After examining the material available on record, the bench observed: “This Court had found that an adverse inference needs to be drawn against the review petitioner for not showing his correct income. This is apparent from the fact that although in the year 2005-06 the petitioner has shown to have earned Rs.86,000 as net income, he claims to have paid Rs. 22 lakh as labour charges, which, in our view, is not acceptable.
The maintenance of Rs. 7,000 per month was granted by the Family Court in the year 2010, after which there is substantial escalation of the prices and the living expenses. The quantum of maintenance depends on the need of the wife and children who are of growing age and the capacity of the husband to pay such maintenance. It is well settled that the husband is under a legal and moral obligation to maintain the wife and children, and the quantum of maintenance should be such as to entitle the wife and the children to have the same standard of life as that of the husband.
In our considered view, this court was justified in drawing an adverse inference and granting enhancement of maintenance at Rs.25,000 per month.”
Read the Order here.