Prayagraj, 27th January 2024: The Allahabad High Court recently reiterated that a husband is obligated to provide maintenance to his wife under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), even if he claims to have no income. The court’s observation came in a criminal revision plea filed by a husband challenging a family court’s order directing him to pay Rs. 2,000 per month as maintenance to his wife.
Justice Renu Agarwal, sitting as a single judge, referenced a 2022 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Anju Garg vs Deepak Kumar Garg. The Supreme Court held that a husband, if physically able, must earn money, even through physical labor, to fulfill his obligation unless legally excused under the statute.
The case before the Allahabad High Court involved a husband who filed the revision plea under Section 19(4) of the Family Court Act. He contested the family court’s order, arguing that his wife voluntarily left their matrimonial home and refused reconciliation. The wife, in turn, claimed cruelty for dowry and presented that the husband earned a substantial income from various sources.
The court observed that the family court had scrutinized evidence related to the husband’s health and found no serious illness. While the wife asserted the husband’s monthly salary and additional income, the court acknowledged the absence of conclusive evidence supporting her claims. Importantly, the court emphasized the husband’s capability to earn, dismissing any legal excuse for non-payment of maintenance.
Crucially, the court found no evidence presented by the husband during the trial to disprove his wife’s entitlement to maintenance or allegations of adultery. Consequently, the court upheld the family court’s order, directing the husband to pay Rs. 2,000 per month from the date of the application. The maintenance arrears were mandated to be paid in five easy quarterly equal installments.