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What should be the basis of maintenance that a man should pay to his estranged spouse in a case of domestic violence? The Delhi High Court Friday ruled that the man’s income should be the parameter and not his family’s property.

Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra made the observation while setting aside a family court order directing a man of an affluent family to pay Rs.45,000 per month to his wife while his monthly income was just Rs.41,  000.

‘After attaining self sufficiency and being employed, a man’s own income has to be the basis for fixing maintenance for his dependants whether wife, parents or children,’ said the judge.

Justice Dhingra reduced the maintenance amount from Rs.45,000 to Rs.20,000 while hearing a petition filed by the husband who contended that the sessions court was wrong in awarding maintenance amount to wife merely on the basis of his family’s status and properties belonging to his parents.

‘The existing properties in the name of father, mother or sister-in-law cannot be considered as the properties of the spouse. Properties of his brothers or parents cannot be a basis for fixing maintenance. Status of a man is not determined from the status of his brother or parents,’ the court said.

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