Delhi HC Rejects Assumption of Unwillingness to Work Based on Possessing a Degree

Delhi High Court Law Insider

LI Network

Published on: October 25, 2023 at 11:15 IST

The Delhi High Court stated that mere possession of a degree, particularly a graduation degree, should not automatically imply that an individual, specifically a wife, is intentionally avoiding work with the sole purpose of seeking interim maintenance from her spouse, especially if she has never been employed in the past.

This judgment was delivered in response to cross-appeals filed by a husband and wife who were challenging a family court’s decision.

The family court had directed the husband to pay the wife Rs 25,000 per month as pendente-lite maintenance.

In these appeals, the wife sought an increase in the maintenance amount, while the husband sought a reduction and the cancellation of penalties imposed on him for not disclosing his actual income.

The Delhi High Court noted that, despite holding a B.Sc. degree, the wife had never been gainfully employed. In contrast, the husband was a practicing advocate.

The court emphasized that having a degree should not lead to the assumption that the wife must be compelled to work, nor should it be presumed that she was deliberately avoiding employment to claim maintenance.

While the court upheld the maintenance amount, it overturned the penalties imposed on the husband for the delayed payment of maintenance and litigation costs, considering them excessive compared to the maintenance relief granted.

The court ordered interest to be paid for the delayed maintenance payments.

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