"Husband's Duty Is To Maintain His Wife & Child, He May Beg, Borrow Or Steal," Says High Court, Chandigarh
“A husband may beg, borrow or steal to pay an allowance to his wife and child, as his first and foremost duty is to maintain them,” this was said in an order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, as reported by Livelaw.
Maintenance to wife
The order was passed by Justice HS Madaan. Reportedly, after a family court had given an order to jail a man for not paying maintenance to his wife and children, the said man then approached the Punjab and Haryana HC. And here his plea was rejected.
The man had failed to pay the arrears of maintenance allowance which amounted to Rs 91,000 in 2015. The Bhiwani District Judge (Family Court) passed an order dated April 17, 2015 sentencing the man to an imprisonment of 12 months, as reported by The Tribune. The high court while upholding the lower court order said the order by the District Judge is a reasoned one.
Justice Madaan, while giving a verdict on the plea filed by the man, said the arrears for about 45 months haven’t been paid. He said that the imprisonment was a “mode of enforcement” and not a “mode of satisfaction, further adding that the liability could only be met by making the actual payment. “The purpose of sending him to jail is not to wipe out the liability, which he has refused to discharge. The monthly allowance is paid in order to enable the wife and child to live by providing the essential economic necessities,” said the order, further adding that it is the duty of the husband to provide for the maintenance of the wife and children.
What is maintenance?
Maintenance is a provision of financial support towards the wife and children to be borne by the husband. It is mainly to ensure that the estranged wife is living a life at par with the one before the separation/divorce.
It may be noted that the maintenance laws have been outlined under the Hindu and Muslim Law. As per the latest order passed in January 2018, the court ruled that even if the wife is working, the husband is liable to pay her a maintenance amount.
The amount to be paid as maintenance to the spouse have not been specified in any of the Indian Matrimonial Statutes except the Divorce Act. The amount fixed for maintenance is as per the discretion of the court. For this, the court takes into consideration the income of both parties, their status and their circumstances.