The Bombay High Court has modified a family court order by bringing down the monthly maintenance allowance from Rs 50,000 to Rs 20,000 payable by an army colonel to his divorced wife, who is a dentist by profession.
A bench of justices A R Joshi and Vijaya Tahilramani recently ordered Col Joseph Philip to pay Rs 20,000 per month to his divorced wife Ritu from June 21, 2012 to November 21, 2014, within a period of six weeks.
The court also asked him to continue paying Rs 20,000 per month to Ritu even after November 21.The couple had married at Hisar in Haryana on August 30, 1990, and were blessed with a daughter two years later.
The bench was hearing an appeal filed by Col Philip against the impugned order of the family court which granted a divorce decree to the couple but ordered maintenance of Rs 50,000. The husband filed an appeal challenging maintenance.
The Mumbai family court had ordered Col Philip to pay Rs 50,000 per month to his estranged wife after going through his salary slips. However, the high court brought it down to Rs 20,000, observing that the maintenance was exorbitant.
“Taking an overall view of the facts and circumstances, we are of the opinion that the amount of maintenance granted by the Family Court in the sum of Rs 50,000 per month is exorbitant and needs to be reduced to Rs 20,000 per month,” said the bench in its order on October 21.
The court noted that the appellant’s 22-year-old daughter was undergoing a veterinary science course in Nagpur for which he was spending money on her hostel accommodation and studies. And this, he did, despite his daughter having an independent source of income from a family business of her maternal uncle. Hence, the daughter was not dependent on Ritu.
The court noted that Ritu was a dentist and also earned some amount out of a trust she ran in the name of ‘Highways Infinite Public Trust’.
Besides, she had a flat and car in her name. The flat was purchased for Rs 15 lakh and half of this amount was contributed by her husband. She also had bought a land in 2008 and sold it for Rs 2.52 lakh, the judges observed while disposing of Col Philip’s appeal.