CHENNAI: Even if a wife has her own means of income, it will not be a bar for a court to order the husband to provide maintenance to her, said Madras high court, adding that visitation rights too could not be linked to payment of maintenance.
Justice S M Subramaniam, holding that the obligation of the husband to provide maintenance stands on a higher pedestal than the wife, said even if the wife is earning, it cannot operate as a bar from being awarded maintenance by the husband. Also, courts could order payment of maintenance to a minor child even in the absence of an application for interim maintenance by the mother, he said.
“Remedy of maintenance is the measure of social justice as envisaged under the Constitution to prevent the wife and the children from falling into destitution and vagrancy. The Constitution envisages social justice and positive state action for empowerment of women and children,” Justice Subramaniam said.
In this regard, the judge rejected the husband’s counsel’s argument that he was willing to take care of the minor child, but the wife was not allowing him to see the child.
“Therefore, he is not in a position to pay the interim maintenance. Unless the wife permits him to visit the child, he will not be in a position to pay the interim maintenance,” he argued.
Recording the submissions, and rejecting them, the court said, “the tenor of the husband expressed through his counsel shows his attitude and conduct. He is none other than the father of the 11-months-old female child. Such an approach of the husband, who is a public servant, at no circumstances, be encouraged by this court.”
The judge was passing the orders on a plea moved by the wife seeking to transfer the divorce case from Poonamallee court to a family court at Trichy since she is residing with her parents in Trichy.
The court then allowed the plea and ordered transfer of the case to Trichy.