The Allahabad High Court emphasized the importance of providing a minimum amount of support to an estranged wife from the date the claim is made to safeguard the life and dignity of the estranged wife during matrimonial discord.

The Court disposed of an Appeal filed challenging the maintenance order of the Family Court, whereby Rs. 2,500 per month maintenance was granted to the estranged wife (Respondent) and Rs. 1,500 per month to the children.

The Bench comprising Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh and Justice Rajendra Kumar-IV observed, “On the other hand, the appellant has available means to provide for such monthly maintenance and one time legal expense etc., considering his monthly salary to be in excess of Rs. 40,000/-. Insofar as the award has been made from the date of the application, again, we find no good ground to interfere with the same. Minimum amounts are required to be provided from the date of the claim being made to ensure the life and liberty of the respondent/estranged wife involved in a matrimonial discord situation is preserved with minimal dignity”.

Advocate Kartikey Singh appeared for the Appellant.

The Appellant filed a First Appeal to challenge the order of the Family Court, whereby maintenance was granted to the Respondent and their three children. The Respondent was granted Rs. 2,500 per month, while the children were awarded Rs. 1,500 per month. The total amount of maintenance awarded was Rs. 7,000 per month to support the family's livelihood. Moreover, the Respondent was awarded Rs. 10,000 for legal expenses and Rs. 200 per date for the proceedings.

The Court noted that the Central Paramilitary Force has employed the Appellant since December 2014 and earns a monthly salary of Rs. 40,032/-. Although the Appellant accused the Respondent of adultery and implicated his brother, the Court found that such evidence was insufficient to challenge the impugned order. The Family court may consider adultery later in the pending divorce proceedings, the Court noted.

However, the Court emphasized that the Respondent is the legally married wife of the Appellant, and they have three children together. Moreover, the Respondent does not have an independent source of income to sustain herself and her children during the ongoing litigation. Hence, the Court observed that the awarded amount is minimal and necessary to maintain the Respondent's basic dignity. The Court further noted that the Appellant has the means to provide for monthly maintenance and legal expenses, given his salary of over Rs. 40,000/-.

Insofar as adultery is concerned, the same may remain to be considered by the learned court below at the appropriate stage in the divorce proceedings, that are still pending… At the same time, it being undisputed to the appellant, the respondent is his married wife and there are three children born from their marriage and further it being undisputed, the respondent does not have independent source of income to sustain with dignity four human lives, pending litigation between the appellant and the respondent, we find, the amounts awarded are wholly minimal in the context of the entirety of facts and circumstances of the case”, the Bench noted.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the Appeal

Cause Title: Pushpendra Singh v. Smt. Seema

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