He cannot escape from such liability only on the basis of his pleading or submission that he is residing in an ashram and not earning anything, the Court observed.
“Do social service, but maintain your wife,” said the Gujarat High Court to a ‘sanyasi’ who had approached it challenging a family court order that required him to pay maintenance to his wife.
Justice S.G. Shah also observed that a husband cannot escape from liability to pay maintenance to his wife only on the basis of his pleading that he is not earning anything.
The family court had ordered the man to pay Rs 3,500 monthly to his wife. Later, he approached the family court for modification of order claiming that though he was serving with the State Bank of Hyderabad at the relevant time and earning more than Rs 11,000, he resigned from his job and is now residing in Ananddham Ashram, based in New Delhi, and therefore, is not earning anything. But the court refused to modify the order, against which he approached the high court by preferring revision.
The court observed: “The fact remains that the applicant is a healthy person. When he selected not to earn anything by resigning from the State Bank of Hyderabad and if he is residing in Ananddham Ashram, New Delhi, on his own, it is his moral, social and legal liability to maintain his wife by doing some earning activity so as to comply with the order of maintenance, which was passed in favour of the wife in 2002.”
Justice Shah said: “If the applicant is so keen to do social work and to help the people at large, he should also do some earning activity so as to maintain his own wife”.
Referring to Bhuwan Mohan Singh vs. Meeta (AIR 2014 SC 2875) and Shamima Farooqui Vs. Shahid Khan (AIR 2015 SC 2025) the Court observed: “The husband has to do some earning activity for maintaining his wife and children and he cannot escape from such liability only on the basis of his pleading or submission that he is residing in an Ashram and not earning anything.”
Live Law had reported the Supreme Court judgment in Shamima Farooqui case, wherein it was held that women cannot be treated as beggars and their grace cannot be lowered in rightful claim to maintenance after divorce if the husband has since then retired from his service. Read the report and judgment here. Read the Live Law report on Bhuwan Mohan Singh vs. Meeta case here.
Read the order here.