Mansimran Kaur

New Delhi, June 13, 2022: While observing that the circumstances alleged by the revisionist-wife already existed at the time of passing of the original maintenance judgment and proof of such circumstances could not form the basis for altering the amount of maintenance u/s 127(1) of CrPC, the Delhi High Court has dismissed the revision petition seeking enhancement of quantum of maintenance.

A Single Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh held, “The change of circumstances referred to in sub-section (1) of Section 127 Cr.P.C. is a comprehensive phrase which also includes change of circumstances of husband. The amount of maintenance once fixed under section 125(1) Cr.P.C. is not something which can be taken to be a blanket liability for all times to come. It is subject to variation on both sides. It can be increased or decreased as per the altered circumstances.”

Factual background of this case was such that the marriage between the revisionist-wife and the respondent was solemnized and later, the wife alleged that she was abused, insulted and ill treated from bringing insufficient dowry by the respondent-husband and his family members. It was also alleged by the revisionist that the respondent was an alcoholic and had illicit relationships with other women. Further the revisionist stated that the respondent and his parents demanded a cash amount of Rs. 10 lakhs for supporting the business of the husband/respondent. Since the revisionist failed to bring dowry she was thrown out of her matrimonial home.

In pursuance of the aforesaid circumstances, the revisionist filed a petition under Section 125 for her maintenance, as she was not able to maintain herself and was totally dependent on her parents.This petition was allowed by the Principal Judge, whereby the respondent was directed to pay maintenance. Aggrieved by the inadequate amount of maintenance, the revisionist preferred the instant petition seeking enhancement of the maintenance amount. 

After hearing the submissions of the parties, the Courtopined that the objection of Section 125 is to prevent vagrancy and destitution of wife, minor children and parents.  The intent behind granting interim/permanent alimony is to ensure that the dependent spouse is not reduced to destitution or vagrancy on account of the failure of the marriage, and not as punishment to the other spouse.  In furtherance of the same, the Court noted that the financial capacity of the husband, his actual income with reasonable expenses for his own maintenance, and dependent family members whom he is obliged to maintain under law and liabilities if any, would be required to be taken into consideration in order to determine the appropriate quantum of maintenance to be paid.  The test of determination of maintenance in matrimonial disputes depends on the financial status of the respondent and the standard of living that the revisionist was accustomed to in her matrimonial home, the Court remarked. 

Further, the Court took into account Section 127 which provides alteration in allowance. It stipulates for an increase or decrease of the allowance consequent on a change in the circumstances of the parties at the time of the application for alteration of the original order of maintenance. It must be shown that there has been a change in the word “circumstance” as appearing in Section 127 Cr.P.C and such circumstances must include financial circumstances. In addition to the same, the Court opined that change of circumstances referred to in Section 127 is a comprehensive phrase which also includes change of circumstances of husband.

On the facts of the present case, the Court held that the circumstances alleged by the revisionist/ wife already existed at the time of passing the original maintenance judgment and same couldnot be the basis for altering the amount of maintenance. It was also mentioned by the Bench that the revisionist submitted that the respondent was earning Rs 82,000 per month. However, she failed to produce any documents to determine his precise income. Thus, the Court declined to intervene with the impugned judgment passed by the Principal Judge.

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