Wife’s upkeep, not general liability, may be changed if circumstances change: Delhi HC

Wife’s alimony under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is not a general liability for all time to come and may be increased or decreased due to a change in the circumstances of the husband or wife. wife, the Delhi High Court said.

Judge Chandra Dhari Singh said the intention behind granting interim or permanent child support is not to punish the other spouse but to ensure that the dependent spouse is not reduced to misery or vagrancy due to marriage breakdown, and therefore balance and fairness must be carefully struck between all relevant factors.

The court’s submissions came as it ruled on a petition for review by a wife seeking an increase in child support her husband had to pay her under a trial court order.

The court said that under Article 127(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), a provision is made to increase or reduce the award if there is a “change in the circumstances of the parties at the time of the request to vary the original support order” and it “must be shown that there has been a change in the situation of the husband or wife”.

“The change of circumstances referred to in Subsection (1) of Section 127 CrPC is a comprehensive term which also includes the husband’s change of circumstances. The amount of child support once determined under Section 125 (1) Cr.PC is not something that can be taken as a blanket liability for all times to come. It is subject to variations on both sides. It can be increased or decreased according to changed circumstances,” a said the court in its recent order.

“The intention behind the award of interim/permanent alimony is to ensure that the dependent spouse is not reduced to misery or vagrancy due to the breakdown of the marriage, not as a punishment for the other spouse… It is well established law that balance and fairness must be carefully struck between all relevant factors,” he said.

In the present case, the applicant asked for monthly maintenance of Rs 35,000 and said that the amount of Rs 3,000, which was granted by the court of first instance, was very insufficient for her subsistence since the husband received a salary of Rs 82,000 per month. and he hid his actual earnings from the trial court.

The respondent husband however claimed that he earns a meager amount of Rs 15,000 per month working as a taxi driver and living in a rented property and also has to take care of his elderly and sick parents.

The court observed that in arriving at the appropriate amount of maintenance, the financial capacity of the husband, his actual income with reasonable expenses for his maintenance as well as dependent family members and responsibilities should be taken into consideration and also , and the standard of living to which the wife seeking support was accustomed in her matrimonial home.

The court dismissed the wife’s request as it found that it had found no good reason to interfere with the trial court’s order.

He stated that the applicant had also not filed documents allowing him to assess the exact income of the respondent and to establish that he earned such a good sum of money and that there was no had been no change in circumstances.

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