Husband can’t refuse maintenance to wife by saying he’s idle: HC

Husband can’t refuse maintenance to wife by saying he’s idle: HC
Srinagar: A husband cannot refuse maintenance to his wife by saying he has no income or he is an idle person, the J&K high court has ruled.
“The husband is duty bound to maintain his wife and for that he may even work as a labourer or do any other kind of lawful work,” said a bench of Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar.
The court upheld Electricity and Passenger Tax Magistrate’s order asking a man to pay Rs 5000 per month to his divorced wife as maintenance.
“The maintenance can be denied only on the recognised legal grounds. The court while considering the application for grant of maintenance has to consider the relevant factors which may at times include the earning capacity of the husband,” the bench said.
However, the court said, the maintenance cannot be denied  to the wife on the ground that the husband has no means of income.
The man had filed a revision petition against magistrate’s order before second additional session’s court which had upheld it.
Feeling aggrieved, the man had challenged it by filing a petition under section 561-A CrPC before the high court.
His counsel submitted that the magistrate had not considered his client’s source of income.
However, after the perusal of the record, the bench observed: “The very fact that (he) is a pharmaceutical distributor would show that he has sufficient means to pay Rs 5000 per month to (wife).”
“In the present times, when prices are sky rocketing, it is otherwise very difficult for a person to maintain himself on a meagre amount of Rs. 5000 per month,” the court said.
The woman had filed maintenance application under section 488 CrPC and it was decided by the Electricity and Passenger Tax Magistrate, Srinagar on 26 October 2013, directing the man to pay an amount of Rs. 5000 per month to her. The order was called in question in a revision petition which has been disposed of by the 2nd Additional Sessions Judge, Srinagar on 22 April last year.