The Allahabad High Court observed that a husband is duty-bound to provide maintenance to his wife even if he has no income.

The Court held that the trial court had gone through all the liabilities of the husband towards his sisters and parents and only then awarded a very meagre amount of Rs.2000/- per month towards maintenance for the wife.

The Court noted the negligence of the husband to maintain his wife and directed the trial court to “take all coercive action against the revisionist for the recovery of maintenance.

A Single Bench of Justice Renu Agarwal observed, “It is submitted on behalf of the revisionist that he is a labour and lives in a rented house near salt factory crossing, Kanpur. He is seriously ill and is under treatment of doctor, but learned trial court after perusal of documentary evidence regarding medical treatment found that revisionist is not suffering from any serious illness. It is admitted on behalf of the revisionist that he is only son of his father, therefore, the land which in the name of his father belongs to revisionist and he has agricultural income also.

Advocate Arjun Singh Somvanshi represented the revisionist, while G.A. Salma Bano appeared for the opposite party.

The husband had challenged the order of the trial court and argued that he was suffering from a serious illness and was a labourer who lived in a rented house.

On the other hand, the wife argued that the maintenance directed was meagre considering the revisionist's income from various sources including milk business and agricultural land.

The trial court found that the husband was not suffering from any serious illness and that he was the only son of his father which meant that the agricultural land which was in the name of his father belonged to him.

The High Court too observed that the husband was a healthy man and was capable of earning money and hence, was liable to maintain his wife.

The Court remarked, “For the sake of argument, if the court presumed that revisionist has no income from his job or from rent of Maruti Van, even then revisionist is duty bound to provide maintenance to his wife.

The Court relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in Anju Garg v. Deepak Kumar Garg, 2022 SC 805 where it was held that even if the husband was engaged in labour work, he would have earned as un-skilled labour about Rs.350/- to Rs.400/- per day as a minimum wage, which made him liable to pay maintenance to his wife.

The Court held that “it transpires that the learned counsel for the revisionist could not mention any irregularity or illegality in the impugned judgment. On the contrary the revisionist is not paying any amount towards the maintenance of his wife/opposite party no.2, which further goes to show the conduct of revisionist and his negligence to maintain his wife. Hence the revision is liable to be dismissed.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the criminal revision petition and upheld the decision of the trial court.

Cause Title: Kamal v. State Of U.P & Anr. (2024:AHC-LKO:7461)

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