Wife Can Seek Maintenance After Gap Of 13 Years Even When Lump Sum Alimony Was Already Given- Punjab & Haryana HC
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed that the wife can file a petition under Section 125 CrPC and seek maintenance after a gap of 13 years even when lump sum alimony was already granted to her.
Justice Amarjot Bhatti held that it cannot be said that the wife cannot file a petition under Section 125 CrPC after a long gap of 13 years or the filing of the petition was a misuse of the process of law.
The Court also held, “Rashmi along with her two children survived on the basis of lump sum alimony given to her by her husband as well as by working as a teacher in a school. Ultimately in order to maintain herself and her daughter and to lead a respectable life, she was compelled to file petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C. claiming maintenance from Sunil Sachdeva. Therefore the petition filed by her is fully justified.”
In this case, the husband had filed a Petition before the High Court under Section 482 CrPC for quashing the judgment passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Pathankot which had granted the Respondent-Wife maintenance at the rate of Rs. 15,000/- per month.
The parties (both husband and wife) had a matrimonial dispute after which the wife was turned out of the matrimonial home along with two children in the year 1993. The husband had filed for a divorce which was dismissed by the High Court on an appeal.
Advocate Ayush Gupta appeared for the Petitioner while Advocate R.D. Sharma appeared for the Respondents before the Court.
The wife alleged that she was employed in a school and was earning Rs. 17,000 per month but she was unable to maintain herself and her daughter. She was residing in rental accommodation and had huge expenses to pay off every month. It was also alleged that the husband was earning more than Rs. 1 lac a month and therefore she claimed maintenance of Rs. 25,000 per month under Section 125 CrPC.
While the husband contended that as per the agreement between them, the wife has already received Rs. 3 lacs from the husband as alimony.
The issue dealt with by the Court was whether the wife could have filed the Petition under section 125 CrPC once the matter was compromised and the wife along with her two children had received lump sum alimony.
The Court noted the wife had filed the petition under Section 125 CrPc for the first time after a gap of 13 years and it could not be disputed that it was not possible for a lady and her two children to survive on a meager amount of Rs. 3 lacs which was given to them by the husband-father in pursuance of a compromise and thus held –
“…Rashmi was justified in filing the present petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C. claiming maintenance to look after her unmarried daughter as well as for her own survival.”
Further, the Court also held that it is not possible to survive on a meager salary of Rs. 17,000/- and to bear the responsibility of two children who were going to professional colleges and observed –
“Therefore, on the basis of compromise dated 7.8.1983, it cannot be said that Rashmi could not file petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C. after a long gap of 13 years or the filing of this petition was misuse of the process of law.”
Thus, the Court upheld the impugned order of the Additional Sessions Judge, Pathankot granting maintenance to the wife at the rate of Rs. 15,000 per month and dismissed the Petition.
Cause Title- Sunil Sachdeva v. Rashmi and another