12 Apr 2008, 0202 hrs IST, Kartikeya,TNN
MUMBAI: Justice V R Kingaonkar of the Bombay High Court ruled this week that a husband did not have to pay maintenance to a wife who left her matrimonial house alleging cruelty and harassment but could not prove the same before a magistrate.
The order came after the court heard the plea of Sanjay Bhosale (35), a ward boy at Pune's Yerawada Mental Hospital whose wife, Khristina, left him within five months of their wedding in May 1998, alleging that Bhosale was a drunkard who often beat her up and demanded gifts. Khristina had even said that she "apprehended danger to her life" at his house and therefore could not live with him any longer.
Khristina had filed for a separate monthly maintenance allowance of Rs 1,500 under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Her plea was first turned down by a magistrate, but a sessions court awarded her a monthly allowance of Rs 700.
Bhosale took the matter to the high court, saying that he had not treated Khristina cruelly and that she had left him of her own will.
Justice Kingaonkar, who heard Bhosale's plea, observed that Khristina had not produced any documents or examined any witnesses in court to support her claims that she had lodged a police complaint against Bhosale and written to her father about the cruel treatment she was suffering at his hands.
On the other hand Bhosale brought the two neighbours "Shubhangi and Bashid" to court as defence witnesses. The neighbours testified that he was "not addicted to any vice" and that they had never him quarrel with Khristina.
Bhosale also told the high court that he had been granted restitution of conjugal rights by a family court in 2003 which noted that Khristina had "withdrawn from the society without any reasonable excuse".
Justice Kingaonkar, after going through all the evidence, considered that Khristina could have left Bhosale "under the burden of domestic chores" and the family court had also said she was "guilty of deserting Bhosale without any reasonable excuse".