SC and HC Judgments Online at MyNation

Judgments of Supreme Court of India and High Courts

Saibal Ghosh vs Mousumi Ghosh on 13 December, 2019

1

IN THE HIGH COURT AT CALCUTTA
CIVIL REVISIONAL JURISDICTION

Before:

The Hon’ble Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya

C.O. 2088 of 2019

Saibal Ghosh
Vs.

Mousumi Ghosh

For the petitioner : Mrs. Susmita Saha Dutta
Mr. Niladri Saha

For the opposite party : Mr. Animesh Kanti Ghoshal
Mrs. Chandramala Mukherjee

Heard on : 06.12.2019

Judgment on : 13.12.2019

Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, J.:

The husband has filed the instant application under SectionArticle 227

of the Constitution of India challenging an order dated April 4, 2019

passed by the Additional District Judge, Fourth Court at Alipore in

Matrimonial Suit no. 131 of 2009. He is aggrieved by the order
2

enhancing the amount of alimony pendente lite as well as grant of

litigation cost.

The husband filed the matrimonial suit under Sectionsection 27 of the

Special Marriage Act for dissolution of the marriage. In the wedlock a

male child was born who has now attained the age of majority.

Initially, the wife filed an application under Sectionsection 36 read with 38 of

the SectionSpecial Marriage Act praying for an order of alimony pendente lite

at the rate of Rs. 20,000 per month for self and Rs. 6,000 per month

for the son who was then a minor. Litigation cost of Rs. 10,000 was

also prayed for. The said application was registered as misc case no.

50 of 2009.

On a contested hearing, the Trial Judge by an order being no 56

dated January 10, 2011 allowed the said misc case in part directing

the husband to pay alimony pendente lite at the rate of Rs. 4,000 per

month for the wife and Rs. 3,000 per month for the minor child with

effect from the date of order. The husband was further directed to pay

the litigation cost of Rs. 8,000 to the wife.

Thereafter, on June 17, 2015, the wife filed an application

praying for enhancement of maintenance which was rejected by the

Trial Judge by an order dated August 18, 2018. The wife challenged
3

the said order by filing a Civil Order no. 65 of 2019 before this

Hon’ble Court which was allowed on contest thereby setting aside the

order dated August 18, 2018. The Trial Court was directed to take up

for hearing of the applications filed by the wife respectively for

enhancement of alimony dated June 17, 2015 and the connected

application for a direction upon the husband to produce relevant

documents pertaining to his income afresh and to decide those on

merits within one month from the date of communication of the order

to the court below.

Pursuant to the order passed by this court in CO No. 65 of

2019, the Trial Court directed the husband to produce the documents

pertaining to his income but the husband did not comply with such

direction. The Trial Judge by an order dated April 4, 2019 allowed the

application dated June 17, 2015 thereby modifying the order of

maintenance passed on January 10, 2011 in misc case no. 50 of

2009 by directing the husband to pay Rs. 22,000 per month for the

wife with effect from the date of the application. The husband was

also directed to pay litigation cost of Rs. 50,000 to the wife. The

husband challenged the said order dated April 4, 2019 in this civil

order.

4

In the application for enhancement of maintenance pendente

lite, the wife/opposite party herein stated that the husband is a big

businessman and owns 3-4 separate residential houses in Kolkata

and Delhi and his present monthly income is more than Rs. 3 lakhs.

He leads a luxurious lifestyle and is maintaining two four wheeler

luxury cars. It was also alleged that the husband is member of

different clubs. The wife further stated that due to the present high

market price and considering the status of the husband the alimony

granted earlier is insufficient and she requires Rs. 50,000 per month

as alimony pendente lite and litigation cost of Rs. 1 lakh.

By filing a written objection to the application for enhancement

of maintenance pendente lite the husband denied that he runs a big

business and owns several immovable properties. He also denied that

his monthly income is Rs. 3 lakhs or more. He claims to have opened

a Family Health Suraksha Policy in the joint name of himself and his

son and paying the premium. He alleges that the wife and the son are

also getting the sum of Rs. 10,000 from two life insurance policies.

The husband asserted that his present income is Rs. 2,08,000 per

annum from business. The husband also claims that he has to bear

the medical expenses of his ailing mother. Reference of a statement
5

made by the wife in the affidavit in chief in connection with misc case

no 7 of 2008 that she has her business under name and style

“Swajal” at shop no. 49 VIP market, P- 187, CIT Road, Kolkata – 54

was also made.

Ms. Susmita Saha Dutta, the Learned Advocate appearing for

the petitioner submitted that the amount of maintenance pendente

lite of Rs. 22,000 as fixed by the trial judge is an exorbitant and

excessive one. She submitted that the husband do not have the

capacity to pay the said amount of maintenance as the income of the

husband is diminishing day by day. The Learned Advocate for the

petitioner submitted that the wife is having an independent source of

income and as such she is not entitled to alimony pendente lite. She

further submitted that the wife is residing at the property owned by

the husband and the Learned Trial Judge while arriving at the

amount of alimony did not take into consideration such fact.

Mr. Ghoshal learned senior advocate appearing on behalf of the

wife submitted that the court below was perfectly justified by

enhancing the amount of alimony which was granted earlier. He

submitted that taking into consideration the rising price index, the

amount of alimony which was initially granted by the court in misc
6

case no. 50 of 2009 is not sufficient to meet the requirement of the

wife. Mr. Ghoshal submitted that the husband is guilty of non

compliance of the direction of the court for not disclosing his true

income inspite of specific direction passed by this court in CO No. 65

of 2019 as well as by the learned court below. Lastly he submitted

that the instant civil revision application should be dismissed.

The acknowledgment issued by the Income Tax Department for

the assessment year 2009-10 has been annexed to this Civil Order to

show that the gross total income of the husband was Rs. 1,79,625 for

the assessment year 2009-10. The said Acknowledgement is for a

period much prior to the date of filing the application for

enhancement. The same relates to a period when the Misc Case No.

50 of 2009 was decided. As such the said document is not relevant

for arriving at a finding with regard to the present income of the

husband/ petitioner while deciding the enhancement petition. Several

certificates dated May 4, 2019, April 28, 2018, May 7, 2017, May 3,

2016 and May 16, 2015 for the financial years 2018-19, 2017-18,

2016-17, 2015-16 and 2014-15 respectively have been annexed to

this Civil Order in support of the claim of the husband that he does

not have the capacity to pay the alimony pendente lite at the
7

enhanced rate. The certificate dated May 4, 2019 was issued after the

passing of the impugned order and as such the same cannot be taken

into consideration. It appears from the impugned order that at the

time of hearing of the impugned application only the certificate dated

May 16, 2015 was relied upon to show that the income of the

husband is only Rs. 2, 06,400/-. As such the other certificates

annexed to this application and relied upon by the Learned Advocate

for the petitioner at the time of hearing cannot be taken into

consideration while deciding the instant Civil Order. The Trial Judge

after considering the evidence of the respective parties gave a detailed

reasoning for not accepting the certificate of income dated May 16,

2015. The Trial Court was perfectly justified by not accepting the

income disclosed in the certificate dated 16.05.15 to be the income of

the husband.

Inspite of direction passed by this court as well as the Trial

Court the husband has deliberately withheld the best evidence

relating to his income. Admittedly, the husband is a businessman. No

accounts relating to the business carried on by the husband has been

produced before the court below. The income earned by the husband

would be within his special knowledge. Under Section 106 of the
8

SectionEvidence Act, onus lies upon the husband to disclose the same. In

this case, the husband has made an attempt to conceal his true

income for which an adverse inference against him about his income

that it is much higher than what has been disclosed to the court is to

be drawn in the instant case. For the reasons as aforesaid it is

difficult to accept the submission of the Learned Advocate for the

petitioner that the income of the husband is decreasing day by day.

The Learned Advocate for the husband/ petitioner also laid

much stress on the cross-examination of the wife in connection with

the Misc Case no. 50 of 2009 where she had stated that she worked

for gains at “Swajal”, P-187, CIT Road, VIP market, shop no. 49,

Kolkata- 54 and submitted that since the wife is having an

independent source of income she is not entitled to alimony pendente

lite.

The trial judge after considering the effect of the said statement

in the cross-examination arrived at a finding in Misc Case no. 50 of

2009 that the wife did not have any source of income and directed the

husband to pay alimony pendente lite. The said order was not

challenged by the husband. On the contrary, the husband claims to

have been paying alimony at the rate fixed by the court in the order
9

passed in the said misc case to the wife. Thus the said order has been

accepted by the husband. It is well settled that the principles of res

judicata applies at different stages of the same proceeding. Thus, the

submission of the Learned Advocate for the petitioner that the wife is

having an independent source of income and as such is not entitled

to alimony pendente lite cannot be accepted at all.

The Learned Advocate for the petitioner by drawing the

attention of the Court to the affidavit in chief filed by the wife in misc

case no. 7 of 2008 that the wife is residing separately at 25/B,

Pratapaditya Road submits that since the wife is residing at the

property owned by the husband, the amount of maintenance

pendente lite awarded by the court below is to be reduced by taking

into consideration the fact that the wife do not have to incur any

expenses on account of her residence.

It does not appear from the application for enhancement of

maintenance that the wife has claimed such enhancement as the cost

for residing at the property has increased. In the written objection to

such application it is not the case of the husband that he has to

incur any expenditure for the wife’s stay at her matrimonial home.

The wife’s right to stay at her matrimonial home cannot be disputed
10

by the husband and since it does not appear from the records that

the wife has claimed enhancement on account of increase in cost for

residing at the said property, the submission of the Learned Advocate

for the husband that the amount of alimony pendente lite granted by

the court below is to be reduced for such purpose cannot be

accepted.

There is no set formula for fixing the amount of maintenance.

The amount of maintenance depends on the facts and circumstance

of each case and it varies from case to case. Some leverage is to be

given to the court for fixing the amount of maintenance. The court

while fixing the amount of maintenance should take into

consideration various factors including the status of the parties, the

needs of the wife and the capacity of the husband to pay. While

deciding on the capacity of the husband to pay, the court has also to

take into consideration the reasonable expenses of the husband for

his own maintenance and of the persons whom he is obliged to

maintain. Inspite of making a statement in the written objection that

he has to bear the medical expenses of his ailing mother, the

petitioner has not stated specifically as to the amount which he is

spending for the medical expenses of his mother for reasons best
11

known to the petitioner. The court also has to take into consideration

the statutory liabilities, if any, of the husband while determining the

capacity of the husband to pay. The written objection is totally silent

about the expenses required for the maintenance of the petitioner.

Also there is no reference of any statutory liability of the husband in

the said Written Objection.

The amount of maintenance for the wife should be fixed in such

a manner that she can live comfortably considering her status and

the mode of life she was used to when she was living with her

husband. A reasonable amount should also be awarded to the wife on

account of litigation cost to enable her to prosecute her case

effectively. The court also has to keep in mind that the amount so

fixed is not excessive.

Since the husband concealed his true income, the court

below was justified in drawing an adverse inference against him

about his income. The Trial Court took into consideration the painful

condition of the wife while living with her son and was of the view

that the amount of Rs. 22,000 should be just and proper for her

monthly maintenance. It is well settled that the court while exercising

the jurisdiction under SectionArticle 227 of the Constitution of India cannot
12

re-appreciate the evidence. The court below has applied the correct

legal tests while adjudicating the application for enhancement of

maintenance pendente lite and was justified in awarding a sum of Rs.

22,000 as monthly maintenance. The litigation cost of Rs. 50,000

awarded by the Trial Judge appears to be a reasonable one taking

into consideration the litigations between the parties.

There is no infirmity in the impugned order. The impugned

order does not suffer from perversity. The Trial Judge neither

committed any error of jurisdiction nor there has been any flagrant

violation of the settled law. No interference is thus called for under

SectionArticle 227 of the Constitution of India. CO No. 2088 of 2019 is

dismissed without any order as to costs.

Urgent photostat certified copies, if applied for, be supplied to

the parties upon compliance of all formalities.

(Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, J.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2020 SC and HC Judgments Online at MyNation
×

Free Legal Help, Just WhatsApp Away

MyNation HELP line

We are Not Lawyers, but No Lawyer will give you Advice like We do

Please read Group Rules – CLICK HERE, If You agree then Please Register CLICK HERE and after registration  JOIN WELCOME GROUP HERE

We handle Women Centric biased laws like False Sectioin 498A IPC, Domestic Violence(DV ACT), Divorce, Maintenance, Alimony, Child Custody, HMA 24, 125 CrPc, 307, 312, 313, 323, 354, 376, 377, 406, 420, 497, 506, 509; TEP, RTI and many more…

MyNation FoundationMyNation FoundationMyNation Foundation