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Shivpreet Singh vs Amanpreet Kaur on 28 January, 2020

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE FOR RAJASTHAN AT
JODHPUR
D.B. Civil Misc. Appeal No. 877/2019

Shivpreet Singh S/o Shri Hardeep Singh, Aged About 35 Years,
B/c Jat Sikh, R/o Chak 14 P.s., Tehsil Raisinghnagar, District Sri
Ganganagar.

—-Appellant
Versus

1. Amanpreet Kaur D/o Shri Mahaveer Singh, W/o Shri
Shivpreet Singh, B/c Jat Sikh, R/o 92, Sindhi Colony, Sri
Ganganagar.

2. Bani D/o Shri Shivpreet Singh, (Minor) Through Her
Natural Guardian Mother Smt. Amanpreet Kaur W/o Shri
Shivpreet Singh.

—-Respondents

For Appellant(s) : Mr. D.S.Thind
For Respondent(s) : Mr. B.S.Sandhu with Mr.B.S.Sisodia

HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SANGEET LODHA

HON’BLE DR. JUSTICE PUSHPENDRA SINGH BHATI

Order

28/01/2020

1. This appeal is filed by the appellant assailing the order dated

22.2.19 passed by the Family Court, Sri Ganganagar in Civil Misc.

Case No.236/18, whereby an application preferred by the

respondent under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (for

short “the Act of 1955”) has been allowed and the appellant is

directed to pay maintenance pendente lite a sum of Rs.25,000/-

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per month to the respondent for herself and Rs.10,000/- per

month for her minor daughter-Bani. That apart, the appellant is

directed to pay to the respondent a sum of Rs.10,000/- in lump

sum towards the litigation expenses. The amount if any, already

been paid by the appellant to the respondent towards the

maintenance in other proceedings is directed to be adjusted

against the amount payable in terms of the order impugned.

2. The appellant filed a petition against the respondent seeking

divorce under the provisions of Section 13 of the Act of 1955.

During the pendency of the petition, the respondent filed an

application under Section 24 of the Act of 1955, claiming

maintenance pendente lite from the appellant a sum of

Rs.80,000/- per month i.e. Rs.40,000/- each for respondent

herself and her minor daughter. The respondent further claimed

Rs.20,000/- towards the litigation expenses.

3. The respondent averred in the application that she has no

source of income, whereas the appellant is employed as doctor in

Government service and drawing monthly salary of Rs.97,480/-.

That apart, he is having 40 bighas command land and also earning

by giving the land of his brother measuring 40 bighas for

cultivation. The income of the appellant from agriculture as

mentioned in the application preferred by the respondent is

Rs.20,00,000/- per annum. It was further averred that the

appellant is earning Rs.50,000/- per month from sale and purchase

of house, plots etc.

4. The application was contested by the appellant by filing a

reply thereto, taking the stand that respondent has deserted the

appellant without reasonable cause and therefore, she is not

entitled for any maintenance. According to the appellant, the

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respondent is employed as Lecturer in Jain College, Sri

Ganganagar and earning Rs.70,000/- per month. The appellant

claimed that the respondent is being paid Rs.13,000/- per month

as maintenance under the provisions of Domestic Violence Act,

2005 and therefore, she is not entitled for any further

maintenance.

5. On the basis of the material on record, the Family Court

arrived at the finding that the appellant employed as doctor, is

earning Rs.97,480/- per month as salary and after deduction,

drawing Rs.81,351/- per month. No evidence was produced by the

appellant showing that the respondent is employed as a Lecturer in

Jain College, Sri Ganganagar and earning Rs.70,000/- per month.

Accordingly, the Family Court determined the amount of

maintenance and the litigation expenses payable to the respondent

as indicated above. Hence, this appeal.

6. Learned counsel appearing for the appellant submitted that

after deduction, the appellant is drawing net pay Rs.69,027/- per

month only. It is submitted that there was no evidence produced

on record showing that the appellant is earning Rs.20,00,000/-

from agriculture. Learned counsel submitted that the respondent

holding the qualification of MBA is employed in Jain College, Sri

Ganganagar and earning Rs.70,000/- per month and thus, she

having reasonable source of income is not entitled for any

maintenance. Drawing the attention of this Court to the statement

of the respondent recorded by the Family Court in Criminal Case

No.889/13, learned counsel submitted that the fact that the

respondent is employed in Jain College, Sri Ganganagar stands

admitted by her and thus, the finding arrived at by the Family

Court that the respondent has no source of income is ex facie

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erroneous. In support of the contention, learned counsel relied

upon a Bench decision of Delhi High Court in Rupali Gupta Vs.

Rajat Gupta : (2016) 234 DLT 693.

7. On the other hand, counsel appearing for the respondent

submitted that after deduction of the income tax, the respondent

is earning about Rs.85,000/- per month and after compulsory

deduction, the income from salary of the appellant assessed by the

Family Court at Rs.81,351/- cannot be said to be erroneous.

Learned counsel submitted that the fact that the appellant has

income from agriculture as well, is not in dispute whereas, while

assessing the income of the appellant and determining the

maintenance payable, the income of the appellant from agriculture

is not even taken into consideration by the Family Court. Learned

counsel urged that the respondent is not employed as Lecturer in

the college on regular basis rather, she is called by the college as

and when required to deliver the lecture. Learned counsel

submitted that the respondent in her statement referred to by the

appellant has only stated that she was working in the college as

part time Lecturer. Learned counsel would submit that as a matter

of fact, the maintenance awarded by the Family Court for the

minor daughter of the appellant and respondent is too meagre.

8. We have considered the submissions of the learned counsel

and perused the material on record.

9. Indisputably, the purpose behind Section 24 of the Act of

1955 is to provide necessary financial assistance to the party to

the matrimonial dispute who has no independent income of his

own sufficient for her or his support or to bear the expenses of the

proceedings. While considering the application for award of interim

maintenance, the relevant consideration is the inability of the

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spouse to maintain himself or herself for want of independent

income or inadequacy of the income to maintain at the level of

social status of other spouse. However, n o hard and fast rule can

be laid down for determination of the amount of interim

maintenance.

10. It is not in dispute that the respondent is employed as doctor

in State service and earning Rs. 1,01,338/- per month. As per the

pay slip produced by the appellant before this Court, he is drawing

net pay Rs.67,533/-. But bare perusal of pay slip reveals that

some of the deductions made are not compulsory deductions. It is

pertinent to note that the factum of the appellant having

agriculture land in the canal area is not disputed. Though, the

appellant has claimed that he is having only 20 bighas of command

land. But then, apparently, while assessing the income of the

appellant, the Family Court has not taken into consideration the

income earned by the appellant from agriculture. Obviously, even if

it is assumed that the appellant has only 20 bighas of command

land, he must be earning a reasonable income therefrom and thus,

the total income of the appellant as assessed by the Family Court

appears to be in lower side.

11. There is no evidence placed on record showing that the

respondent while working as part time Lecturer is earning

adequately to maintain herself. Thus, taking into consideration the

totality of the facts and in the circumstances of the case, in the

considered opinion of this Court, the amount of maintenance

payable to the respondent by the appellant as determined by the

Family Court cannot be said to be excessive. The litigation

expenses awarded as Rs.10,000/- also appears to be reasonable.

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12. In view of the discussion above, the appeal preferred by the

appellant is devoid of any merit and therefore, the same deserves

to be dismissed.

13. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed. No order as to costs.

(PUSHPENDRA SINGH BHATI),J (SANGEET LODHA),J

Aditya/-

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