Will I have to pay maintenance to my wife after divorce


The HonÕble High Court of Calcutta in a recent case, Ramiz Raza vs. The State of West Bengal & Ors. has held that a wife has statutory right to seek maintenance from her husband irrespective of the fact that whether she is an earning individual or not. The relevant excerpt of the HonÕble Supreme Court is as follows:

ÒIt is well settled, by virtue of the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Bhagwan Dutt (supra) that even a wife having a substantial income of her own or even a working lady is entitled to claim maintenance from her husband. Though initially it was a misconception that a working woman is not entitled to claim maintenance since she has some substantial income and is able to maintain herself, but in view of the decision rendered by the Supreme Court in the said case it is evident that she can claim maintenance even though she is an earning lady.Ó

Though the HonÕble High Court of Calcutta has clarified the well settled aspect of the right to maintenance for the earning wives, there have been numerous occasions where the family courts and various High Courts come to a different conclusion subject to the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, as discussed above. Though the Ramiz Raza judgment was delivered by the HonÕble High Court of Calcutta in February, 2020, but it is to be kept in mind that the HonÕble Court merely reiterated the law which was no more res integra.

At last, it can be inferred from the above said statutory provisions and the case laws that the earning wives do have right to seek maintenance subject to the income status of both the parties and the gap between the wivesÕ incomes and their needs and wants, if any.

Reference: 13 Divorce. —
(1) Any marriage solemnised, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, may, on a petition presented by either the husband or the wife, be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground that the other party—
16 [(i) has, after the solemnisation of the marriage, had voluntary sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse; or]
16 [(ia) has, after the solemnisation of the marriage, treated the petitioner with cruelty; or]
16 [(ib) has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition; or]
(ii) has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion; or



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