In an unbiased and interesting judgment delivered by Hon’ble Biswajit Basu of the Calcutta High Court it was observed that,a wife cannot claim maintenance under Section 36 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 if she has sufficient independent income to support herself.
In the instant case there arose a matrimonial dispute in which the husband had filed for divorce before an Additional District Court on the ground of cruelty. The wife claimed an amount of RS 50,000 as alimony under Section 36 of the Special Marriage Act. The trial court, however, rejected her claim, although it awarded her Rs. 30, 000 as litigation expenses. This was challenged in the High Court by the wife who claimed that she is entitled to maintenance proportionate to that of her husband’s earnings. She contended that her husband earned an annual income of about Rs. 75 lakhs per year. In addition to this she said that she earned about Rs 48,000 per month.
The Court discovered that the wife earned over Rs. 74,000 per month between December 2018 and March 2019. Keeping this in mind, it was decided that wife had independent income to maintain herself. This decision of the High Court upheld the judgment of the lower court.