Whether an earning wife is entitled to interim maintenance u/s. 24 Hindu Marriage Act

Manokaran @ Ramamoorthy vs M. Devaki on 21 February, 2003

Wherein a wife was earning more than her husband who was himself earning merely Rs. 2000 per month, the Family Court Madras had passed an order wherein the said man was meant to pay Rs. 750 to his wife as interim maintenance.

Aggrieved by the said order, the husband appealed before the Madras High Court. The High Court, upon reading of section 24, came to the conclusion that:

The language used in Section 24which makes it clear that for grant of maintenance pendente lite the party should not have sufficient independent income for her support. In the light of the materials available, particularly the admitted case of the respondent/wife, she is employed in a private Satelite T.V. and earning for her livelihood staying with her brother, it cannot be construed that she is not having sufficient independent income. The Family Court lost its sight to consider the above material aspect…

Setting aside the Family Court order, the Madras High Court opined that if the need arises and the wife is ever without a source of independent income, she can approach the court.

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