The Bombay High Court stated, while hearing a man’s appeal against a court judgement compelling him to pay maintenance to his estranged wife, that a woman cannot be forced to labour to make a living simply because she is educated.
The man had filed a revision application challenging an order of the family court in Pune, which was being heard by a single bench of Justice Bharati Dangre.
Just because a woman is a graduate doesn’t mean she has to work and can’t stay at home, according to Justice Dangre.
“Our society has yet to understand that the woman of the house has a role to play (towards finances). Working is a choice made by a woman. Just because she (one of the case’s parties) is a graduate doesn’t mean she can’t sit at home, today I’m a judge, tomorrow, I’m guessing I’ll be sitting at home. Will you claim that I am qualified to serve as a judge and that I should not be sitting at home? “, questioned Justice Dangre.
The man’s lawyer contended that the family court had “unfairly” ordered his client to pay maintenance because his estranged wife was a graduate who could work and support herself. The man also claimed in his plea, filed through counsel Ajinkya Udane, that his estranged wife had a stable source of income at the time, but that she had concealed this fact from the court.
The judge, on the other hand, was not satisfied and went on to comment on whether educated women should work or stay at home.
In a nutshell, the conflict arose since the husband and wife married in 2010. The wife and their daughter began living apart in 2013. In April 2013, she filed a Domestic Violence (DV) Act complaint against her husband and his parents.
She filed a petition for restoration of conjugal rights after a year, there were additional actions initiated under Indian Penal Code Section 498A (cruelty). The wife applied for maintenance in a family court while the DV procedures were underway under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
The judge granted the application, and the husband was ordered to pay 5,000 per month to the wife and 7,000 to the child’s maintenance separately.
The husband challenged this order in the current petition, which was filed through Advocate Ajinkya Udane. According to the plea, the husband did not have enough resources or money to resist his wife’s ongoing legal actions.
The high court will hear the case again next week after the wife’s attorney requested more time to react to the petitioner’s arguments.