Taking stern view of a false rent agreement filed by a husband in Domestic Violence proceedings pending against him before the Trial Court, the Delhi High Court enhanced the interim maintenance payable by him to his wife and directed initiation of an inquiry under Section 340 of CrPC.
The Petitioner-husband, Abhishek Dubey, had approached the high court seeking revision of the orders passed by the Trial Court and the Appellate Court whereby he had been directed to pay a sum of Rs. 10,000/- per month to his Respondent-wife, Archana Tiwari.
Contending that his monthly income was merely 10,000/- per month, Dubey submitted that he could not in such circumstances be expected to pay his entire earnings to fulfill the "lavish and western" lifestyle of his wife. Reliance was placed on Manish Jain v. Akanksha Jain, (2017) 15 SCC 801, whereby the Supreme Court had held,
"The Court must take into consideration the status of the parties and the capacity of the spouse to pay maintenance."
He further submitted that he had been disowned by his parents on account of the Respondent's actions and that he had been living in a rental accommodation since three years and that presently he was staying on rent on the 2nd Floor of a house which belonged to his Advocate in Lucknow.
The petition was contested by the Respondent wife who alleged that the Petitioner was a known businessman in Lucknow and earned around Rs. 2 lacs/day. Various documents depicting his multiple sources of income were placed on record. She further submitted that the rent agreement produced by the Petitioner in support of his arguments was fake, inasmuch as there was no 2nd Floor in the said building.
On hearing the parties, Justice Suresh Kumar Kait found that the Petitioner had admitted before the Trial Court that he was staying on rent on the 2nd Floor of the said house belonging to his Advocate. However, there in fact was no 2nd Floor in the said building.
Making a case perjury against the Petitioner, the court said,
"the petitioner has committed perjury by stating the said fact before the Trial Court whereas he is not residing there and the address is fake. Accordingly, I hereby direct the Trial Court to issue proceedings against the petitioner under Section 340 Cr.P.C."
Further, noting that the Petitioner was a businessman and it was not possible to ascertain the actual income of a person dealing in cash, the court assessed his income based on his standard of living and what he was earning before separation from his wife. Accordingly, it came to a conclusion that the Petitioner's income was somewhere between Rs. 50,000/- to 1,00,000/- and as such he could easily maintain his wife.
Lastly stating that Rs. 10,000/- was a meagre amount awarded by the Trial Court, the Court concluded that the Petitioner was duty bound to maintain his wife as per his status and directed enhancement of the interim maintenance to Rs. 20,000/-.
"The respondent is legally wedded wife of the petitioner and is duty bound to maintain her as per his status. In the present days, Rs. 10,000/- is a meagre amount awarded by the Trial Court, to maintain as per standard of the husband. Accordingly, while dismissing the present petition, I hereby enhance an amount of Rs. 20,000/- per month, as interim, to be paid from the date of filing of the DV Act petition," the court said.
The Petitioner was represented by Advocates Manoj Kumar Dwivedi and Piyush Dwivedi and the Respondent by Advocate Namit Saxena.