Man promises to make amends with estranged wife, Delhi High Court directs him to continue paying maintenance to show bona fides

The Court clarified that cohabitation shall resume only after FIRs and complaints registered against the wife by the man's parents are withdrawn.
Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh
Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh

Even as a man promised to withdraw divorce proceedings and make amends with his estranged wife, the Delhi High Court interestingly ordered him to keep paying his wife maintenance to test his “bona fides.

A Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh in its order stated,

“… with a view to test the bonafides of the respondent and also considering the fact that being the husband, it is his legal and moral obligation to maintain the appellant, we direct that the respondent to continue to pay maintenance to the appellant at the rate of ₹10,000 per month even after he resumes to cohabitate with her at the rented accommodation.”

The Court had in its last order stated that it is unheard of in our society that a man who is already in emotional distress on account of a matrimonial dispute, would be disowned by his parents, and ordered the man to clear arrears of maintenance and continue paying ₹10,000 as monthly maintenance without default.

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The wife had moved court claiming that the estranged husband hadn’t paid the monthly maintenance awarded to her by a Family Court, since March 2021. The man responded that he had lost his job and that he was disowned by his parents.

On this occasion, the Bench interacted with the parties and learnt that the husband was willing to give his marriage another “genuine” chance and promised to withdraw the divorce petition "unconditionally." He also agreed to withdrawing any police complaints or FIRs registered at the behest of his parents against the wife.

The husband further assured to discharge all his responsibilities towards the wife by having cordial relations with her and taking the responsibility of maintaining her and the household.

The Court recorded that the man said that he would reside with the wife in a rented accommodation where she lived, and not with his parents.

The wife, however, raised an apprehension as to whether the estranged husband was only making these assurances to ward off his liability to pay the monthly maintenance.

If the effort from the man was genuine, the wife said that she would do her bit in discharging her obligations as a “good wife towards the respondent.

The Court, however, clarified that cohabitation shall resume only after the complaints or FIRs, if any, that had been registered against the wife by the parents of the man were withdrawn or quashed.

The Bench then inquired with the wife if she had taken away any title documents or jewellery belonging to the man's parents. The woman replied in the negative.

Since the appellant has made categorical statement that she has not removed any title documents of the properties owned by her in-laws, it should be open to them to obtain certified copies thereof, and to deal with the property in the manner they like, on the basis of such certified copies. Since the appellant states she has not taken any title documents/property papers of her in-laws, it goes without saying, that she shall have nothing to do with the said property,” the Court noted.

The matter was posted on September 7, 2021 for compliance by the husband.

The order also clarified, “We make it clear that the withdrawal of this petition will not tantamount to automatic disposal of the present appeal made by the respondent, which we shall keep alive to monitor the statements made by the respondent. The respondent shall take steps on his aforesaid statements and ensure compliance before the next date.”

The appellant wife was represented by Advocate Prashant Diwan, while Advocate Manmeet Singh Maini appeared for the husband.

[Read order]

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