Monday, August 23, 2010

Alimony can be based on family income: HC

Alimony can be based on family income: HC

Orders 8-Fold Hike To Businessman's Wife

Shibu Thomas | TNN

TNN, Aug 20, 2010

Mumbai: The joint family finances of a man can be considered while determining the quantum of maintenance to be paid to his estranged wife, the Bombay high court has ruled. It gave its order in a case involving a 31-year-old Pune businessman.

Hiking eight-fold the maintenance the businessman, Amar Shejare, must pay his estranged wife Seema and their minor daughter to Rs 20,000 a month from Rs 2,500, a division bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Amjad Sayed said, "Considering the lifestyle of the Shejare family, it would necessarily follow that the income of (Amar) was substantial."

The judges added, "(Amar) had substantive income and considering the holdings of the joint family, he is capable of paying the monthly maintenance to the wife and the minor daughter." The court also directed Amar to pay an additional Rs 10,000 to his wife towards legal costs. Amar had contended that the property was owned by his joint Hindu undivided family. "We are conscious of the fact that Shejare is one of the coparceners (joint heir in the family property) and will have only a share in the said income," the judges said, but pointed out that the family owned considerable property. Seema (25) had moved the Pune family court in 2003 seeking maintenance for herself and her daughter under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act and Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The provision of the CrPC allows a woman to avail of maintenance from her husband on grounds of negligence.

In 2005, the family court had asked Amar to shell out Rs 2,500 as monthly maintenance. Seema then moved the high court seeking enhancement of the amount, claiming that the annual income of her in-laws was around Rs 3 crore. She told the court that Amar's family owned mango orchards spread over 75 acres in Ratnagiri and ran a business of mangoes and food products in Pune, besides owning residential flats in the city. Amar denied the claims and said his family owned only a 22-acre mango orchard. He also produced his incometax returns to show that his salary was not very high.

The high court, however, asked why he had not filed IT returns as part of the Hindu undivided family so that he could have refuted his wife's claims. The judges further observed that even 22 acres of mango orchard would generate ample income.

Courtesy_

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