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Financially independent wife cannot claim maintenance: HC

Bombay-HCObserving that a wife who is financially independent cannot claim maintenance from her estranged husband, the Bombay High Court has refused to grant relief to a 61-year-old woman seeking monthly maintenance.

A division bench of Justices VK Tahilramani and P N Deshmukh was hearing a petition filed by the woman challenging an October 2012 order passed by a family court refusing to direct her 65-year-old estranged husband to pay her the sum of Rs. 15000 per month.

The husband had opposed the petition saying he has already handed over full possession of one of his flats in suburban Andheri to his wife and also given her custody of fixed deposits worth Rs. 50 lakh he had opened for her.

The court noted that apart from Rs. 50 lakh, the husband had earlier also deposited Rs. two lakh by way of interim maintenance to his wife which she has deposited in the bank as fixed deposit.

“In the present case, it is seen that the wife is getting more than Rs. 37,500 per month as interest. She has sufficient money in her bank account. In addition, her son is providing her money every month. No one is dependent on her and she has sufficient income for her survival,” the court said.

The bench observed that while claiming maintenance the wife has to prove that she does not have any permanent source of income to maintain herself and that she is unable to maintain herself financially.

“It is well settled law that a wife who has no sufficient permanent source of income, can only claim and get maintenance from her husband who is having sufficient means. The burden lies on the wife to prove that the husband has refused and neglected to maintain her though he is having sufficient means,” the court said.

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