to Employed Wife
The provision purports to provide relief
to a wife who is unable to maintain herself, indicating that in case she is
capable of doing that, then she may not successfully claim further payment of maintenance by husband.
The provision also contains words “with sufficient means” meaning that the person against
whom the proceedings have been initiated must have reasonable means of
maintaining the wife but neglects/refuses to do so. Provision under CrPC is not in
conflict with the same under personal laws, and a person not entitled to
maintenance under this section may still successfully sue under their
respective laws. The judicial trend with respect to maintenance to employed
wives has been varying over time, and the view has been quite dynamic. It is
not necessary that the woman should be an absolute destitute before she can
claim maintenance, and the phrase “not able to maintain herself” indicates that
she is unable to meet her needs even if she has a meager income.
Bhai Trivedi v Priyamvada Ghamu Pratapbhai Trivedi,
the Court held that merely because the respondent had chosen to work would
not disentitle her to the right of maintenance.
Ashok Kumar vs. Satwant Kuar,
it was held that the husband’s may avail benefit in terms of his liability, to
the extent of the independent income of the wife, but then again his income too
will be taken into consideration.
Jaiswal v Rajesh Jaiswal,
it was held that a spouse who is well qualified to get the service
immediately with less efforts is not expected to remain idle and to squeeze out
the adversary by implementing the provisions of law suitable to their purpose.
The Madras HC in Manokaran @ Ramamoorthy vs M. Devaki
held that an employed wife with sufficient means could not receive
maintenance under S.24 HMA.
Bhasin & Ors v NCT of Delhi and Anr,
held that it was not open to the Court to direct the appellant to pay
maintenance to his wife and child as a pre-condition foe anticipatory bail u/s
498A or S.406 IPC.
Aggarwal v veeka Aggarwal,
it was held that in the present case the applicant/ wife is a well-qualified
engineer and, therefore, there is no need for her to sit idle at home waiting
for the maintenance from the husband.
However, it has to be noted that this is
not a blanket refusal by the judiciary to provide maintenance to employed
wives. The Supreme Court has laid down that an estranged woman can claim
maintenance from her husband in spite of her efforts to earn a monthly income
if that is not enough for her maintenance, and she does not need to be an
absolute destitute to apply for maintenance.