Bombay High Court: Can not deny interim maintenance on grounds of fake job post on social media.
In Aboli Patil vs Tejpal Patil, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court held that a wife can not be denied her right to interim maintenance because she made a false claim on social media regarding her employment.
The Petitioner (wife) condemns strongly against the order passed on 4th December 2019 by the Judge of the Jalgaon Family Court for her application of granting maintenance pendente lite under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The Family Court rejected her application on two grounds:
- She possesses higher qualifications
- She made a declaration on Facebook and WhatsApp that she had secured a job in a London, United Kingdom-based company.
Mr. Deshmukh who was the learned counsel for the Petitioner stated that there is a difference between a person’s capacity to earn and their actual earnings and despite the Petitioner having higher qualifications she has not been earning anything as she is jobless. As far as the concern regarding the job declaration on the social media platform, upon verification found to be a random email received by the Petitioner which was a sham. Mr. Deshmukh further stated that the affidavit of assets and liabilities filed by her husband contended that he has been earning a monthly salary of Rs.1,33,377/- (Rupees One Lakh Thirty-Three Thousand Three Hundred and Seventy-Seven).
Contrary to this the learned counsel for the Respondent (Husband), Mr. Nimbalkar opposed the petition and argued that the wife has the ability to earn yet sits ideal. Also, in reference to the job declaration, she made on social media the printout of the same along with the messages she received congratulating her for being offered employment in the United Kingdom with a salary of 2000 pounds indicates that she accepted the offer letter. He further stated that the Petitioner’s mother has a political connection and the Petitioner undertook some political engagements that should provide sufficient generation of income to maintain herself and her mother as the Petitioner and the Respondent do not have a child. Hence, the petitioner should not be awarded the maintenance.
The Aurangabad bench made certain observations from the above and held that the Family Court ought not to have raised a presumption of employment based on social media and mere possession of higher qualifications. There is no concrete proof of the job produced before the court in form of bank statements, Income Tax Returns, etc. Also, in cross-examination, the Petitioner stated that the post of appointment letter was fake despite the acknowledgment received from her by her mother, relatives, and friends. And she should have checked for the validity of the mail before gaining popularity for incorrect information. The Court concluded that the Petitioner is not employed and the courts can not shut the doors on her because her conduct had faults.
After referring to various judgments of the Apex Court regarding the grant of interim maintenance towards the wife the Court held that mere qualification cannot be a reason to deny her the same. The Judge noted that the husband earned around Rs 66,000 (Rupees Sixty Thousand only) per month and also has repaid his personal loan of Rs 15,00,000/- (Rupees Fifteen Lakhs only). Therefore, the Court ordered the Husband to pay Rs 7,500 (Rupees Seven Thousand Five Hundred only) as interim maintenance towards the Petitioner-Wife.
Source – Bar and Bench