Wife entitled to maintenance till plea of divorce proved: HC

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Apr 5: In a significant judgment passed by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, it has been held that a Muslim wife is entitled to ‘interim maintenance’  till the plea of the divorce is proved.
Justice Mohammed Yaqoob Mir of J&K High Court passed this judgment in a case titled ‘Abdul Qayum Vs  Ist Additional Sessions Judge Jammu and others’.  The facts of the case briefly stated that the wife of the petitioner filed a case  under section 488 CrPC seeking maintenance. The trial court initially granted Rs 8000 per month to the wife as interim measure.
Thereafter, husband (Abdul Qayoom), filed objections to the said petition  and annexed a copy of an alleged divorce deed and pleaded that marriage between the parties had dissolved by virtue of the said deed. Meanwhile, the trial court deferred the grant of interim maintenance till both the parties led summary nature of evidence. Against that order, the wife (Shagufta Parveen) filed a revision before the Ist Additional Sessions Judge, Jammu which was allowed  and the court allowed Rs 5000 as interim maintenance to the wife.
The petitioner  (husband) challenged the said order before the J&K High Court. The counsel appearing for the petitioner Basit M Keng argued that under Muslim Law wife is not entitled to interim maintenance if the husband pleads that marriage between the parties has come to an end by virtue of a divorce deed (Talaq). Per contra, the counsel appearing for the wife, RKS Thakur argued that if the husband takes the plea of divorce , then he has not only to plead but necessarily prove the said divorce and till then, wife can not be denied interim maintenance.
After hearing the counsels for both the sides, Justice Mohammad Yaqoob held that “ grant of interim maintenance is allowable till plea of divorce is proved. Otherwise, non-grant thereof shall have disastrous  consequences.  On the one hand, sociological object of section 448 CrPC  will be defeated because there will be every apprehension and chance that the seeker of interim maintenance to be subjected to destitution and vagrancy.”  After holding the same, the High Court held the petition filed by the husband being devoid of merit.