Pal Kaur Chawla Vs. Manjeet Singh Chawla  Insc 307 (21 April 2004)
V. Patil & D. M. Dharmadhikari.
O R D
the petitioner in person and learned counsel appearing for the respondent. We
have also perused the counter affidavits and rejoinders along with the written
submissions filed by the parties.
present appeal arises out of an interim order dated 11.1.2002 passed by the
learned Single Judge of the High Court of Delhi in the course of proceedings
instituted by the present appellant claiming to be the second wife of the
respondent for grant of maintenance to her under section 18 read with section
20 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act [for short the Act]. The learned
Single Judge on the original side of the High Court in the pending proceeding
under the Act has by order dated 11.1.2002 granted an interim maintenance of Rs.
400/- per month to the wife.
wife appealed to the Division Bench of the High Court. By order dated 25.7.2003
which is the subject matter of this appeal, the interim maintenance has been
increased to Rs.700/- per month. Not satisfied with the increase in the amount
of interim maintenance granted by the Division Bench, the wife has approached
this Court seeking further enhancement of rate of interim maintenance.
this appeal, interim maintenance @ Rs. 12,000/- per month has been claimed on
the ground that the respondent/husband has taken voluntary retirement from the
Bank's services and has received substantial amount of retiral benefits. It is
stated that he is possessed of valuable properties and assets which are
sufficient to pay higher amount of maintenance to the wife to enable her to
maintain a reasonable standard of living to which the parties are accustomed.
husband is contesting the maintenance proceeding both on the ground of
competence of the present wife to claim maintenance and the quantum.
this Court would not have entertained this appeal as it is directed against an
order fixing only interim maintenance pending adjudication of claim of
maintenance by the wife under the Act. On the prima facie evidence with regard
to the social and financial status of the parties, this Court finds that
interim maintenance of Rs. 700/- per month fixed by the Division Bench of the
High Court is extremely low. Therefore, after notice issuing on the Special
Leave Petition, this appeal is entertained.
the High Court, it appears that at one stage, reconciliation efforts were made
in which the husband had agreed to provide second floor of the accommodation
owned by him for separate residence of the wife with Rs. 1,500/- per month as
permanent alimony to her during her life. Efforts of reconciliation, however,
failed as at a later stage, the wife backed out.
copies of orders passed by the Division Bench of High Court on 13.2.2003 and
17.2.2003, in the course of reconciliation proceedings, have been produced by
the parties in this appeal.
legal right of the second wife to claim maintenance under the Act and its
quantum are hotly contested issues in the main case, we refrain from expressing
any opinion on merit of the claims and contentions of the parties. For the
purpose of fixing appropriate amount of interim maintenance, we may assume that
the financial position of husband is such that he can easily pay a sum of Rs.1,500/-
per month as interim maintenance without disturbing the right of separate
residence provided to the wife at the second floor of the husband's premises.
appeal, therefore, is partly allowed by increasing the amount of interim
maintenance to Rs. 1,500/- per month which shall be payable at the above rate
from the month of May, 2004 until decision of the main case pending under the
Act on the original side of the High Court. It is made clear that the High
Court shall decide the main case on merits uninfluenced by orders passed for
fixing interim maintenance.
circumstances, there shall be no order as to costs in this appeal.