New Delhi, April 6: The Supreme Court on Monday ruled the retirement of a husband was no ground for reduction in the maintenance granted to a divorced wife as it held the husband's obligation was on a "higher pedestal when the question of maintenance of wife and children arises".
"Solely because the husband had retired, there was no justification to reduce the maintenance by 50 percent. It is not a huge fortune that was showered on the wife that it deserved reduction," said a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant.
Setting aside a high court judgment, Justice Misra, speaking for the bench, said: "When the woman leaves the matrimonial home, the situation is quite different. She is deprived of many a comfort. Sometimes the faith in life reduces. Sometimes, she feels she has lost the tenderest friend. There may be a feeling that her fearless courage has brought her the misfortune."
"At this stage, the only comfort that the law can impose is that the husband is bound to give monetary comfort. That is the only soothing legal balm, for she cannot be allowed to resign to destiny," the court said holding that the high court order was unsustainable and lacked application of mind.
In the instant case, Shamima Farooqui and Shahid Khan were married on April 26, 1992 and divorced on June 18, 1997. The family court granted Shamima a maintenance of Rs.4,000 per month as Shahid Khan was serving as a soldier and getting pay of Rs.10,000.
Taking note of Khan's retirement, the high court halved the maintenance allowance to Rs.2,000-from April 1, 2012 - when he retired from the army.