CHENNAI: A division bench of Madras High Court had set aside the order of a city-based family court directing a wife to pay monthly maintenance to her estranged husband. The High Court struck down the family court's verdict after learning that the husband had not been incapacitated due to illness.
The bench of Justices R Subramanian and K Govindarajan Thilakavadi passed the orders while allowing a civil miscellaneous appeal preferred by the wife.
The appellant pleaded to set aside the order of a family court that asked her to pay Rs.20000 per month as interim maintenance for her husband. The main ground raised by the appellant was that there is no evidence to establish that the respondent could not eke out his livelihood by doing any work.
“The only reason that is projected by the husband for his inability to work and earn is that he had undergone an angioplasty. Angioplasty, as commonly understood, is a fixation of a stent to widen the blood vessels. It does not incapacitate a person,” advocate R Rajarajan for the appellant submitted.
Concurring with the submissions, the judges opined that the family court judge magnified the minor procedure as if the husband was totally incapacitated and proceeded to grant maintenance.
“..the wife has produced the income tax assessment of the husband for four financial years from 2017 to 2021,” the court noted. The judges added that they had found that the husband had paid an income tax of about Rs.24.59 lakhs and set aside the family court’s order to the wife to grant the interim maintenance.
The appellant filed an application before the family court in 2017 to nullify the marriage between her and the respondent. Meantime, the respondent also filed a divorce petition on the grounds of cruelty. He filed another petition for obtaining maintenance from his wife.
He contended that he had been thrown out of his house and unable to do his real estate business, which he was carrying on because of his health condition – i.e., heart ailments. Therefore, the family court ordered the interim maintenance amount to be paid by his wife for him.
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