The Madhya Pradesh High Court dismissed a husband's application to quash a maintenance order holding that the wife cannot be in the wrong for leading a modern life perceived as immoral by her husband.

The Court affirmed the maintenance amount awarded to the wife by the trial court stating that it was “by no stretch of imagination…on higher side” in light of the price index, cost of living as well as the cost of goods required for daily needs.

A Single Bench of Justice Gurpal Singh Ahluwalia observed, “This court cannot hold that if the wife is leading a modern life and if such an act of the wife is immoral in the eyes of her husband, then wife is wrong. Leading a modern life without committing an offence cannot be criticized at all. Unless and until it is held that wife is residing separately without any reasonable reason, she cannot be denied maintenance.

Advocate Paritosh Trivedi represented the applicant.

The husband filed an application under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. to contest the maintenance amount granted to his wife by the trial court, contending that their separation stemmed from his orthodox background contrasting with his wife's modern lifestyle, as evidenced by her Facebook posts. While the husband claimed to have no objection to paying maintenance to his wife, he sought to quash the maintenance awarded due to her lifestyle.

However, the High Court rejected the applicant's argument, holding that living a modern life, as long as it does not involve criminal activity, cannot be considered immoral or a valid reason to deny maintenance.

The Court cited the Supreme Court’s decision in Nagarathinam v. State through the Inspector of Police (Criminal Appeal No.1389/2023) to support its stance that it is not the role of the judiciary to dictate morality or ethics.

Except submitting that wife is in habit of living a modern life which is not acceptable to the applicant, nothing else was pointed out to show that wife is residing separately without any reasonable reason,” the Court remarked.

Before concluding, the Court also pointed out that “this order would not come in the way of respondents in case if they file an application under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. for enhancement of maintenance amount.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the application.

Cause Title: XYZ v. ABC


Applicant: Advocate Paritosh Trivedi

Click here to read/download the Order