Invoking the principle of gender equality, the Delhi High Court Thursday upheld a lower court order asking a woman, who runs a business with an annual turnover of about Rs.1 crore, to pay monthly maintenance of Rs.20,000 to her estranged, unemployed husband.
Justice G.S. Sistani upheld the trial court order of 2009 that awarded maintenance to Rajeev (name changed).
‘He should also enjoy the same status as his wife,’ Justice Sistani said.
He directed Priya (name changed) to pay Rs.20,000 per month to Rajeev, in addition to a Maruti Zen Car.
‘Law is equal for both of them. When husband is unemployed then the wife, who is working, should maintain him,’ said the court.
Priya had challenged the trial court order, saying a monthly payment of Rs.20,000 was on the higher side.
The couple married in 1982 and have a son and a daughter aged 26 and 24 years respectively.
Rajeev’s lawyer Bhupendra Pratap Singh has alleged that Priya and his children threw his client out of their home in 2006 after accusing him of having an affair with another woman.
‘The court also rejected Priya’s plea that as she was already looking after their children, she should be exempted from paying her husband a monthly maintenance,’ Singh said.
The court considered Priya’s flourishing business of a hotel cum paying guest in Greater Noida while fixing the maintenance.
Singh said Rajeev had purchased the hotel in his wife’s name.
‘Priya tactfully named herself as the first party in the business and property and threw him out after levelling baseless accusations,’ he said.
Rajeev had filed for divorce in 2008 in the trial court on the grounds of desertion. He later filed a maintenance plea under section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act