Madhya Pradesh High Court Affirms Wife's Maintenance Right; Modern Lifestyle Not Grounds for Denial

Madhya Pradesh High Court reaffirms wife's entitlement to maintenance despite husband's objection to her modern lifestyle. Justice GS Ahluwalia emphasizes no grounds for denial unless living separately without reasonable cause.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently issued a significant ruling affirming that a wife's modern lifestyle cannot be used as a basis for denying her maintenance. Justice GS Ahluwalia emphasized that the court cannot deem a wife's modern life as "immoral" simply because it doesn't align with her husband's views.

"Leading a modern life without committing an offence cannot be criticized at all. Unless and until it is held that the wife is residing separately without any reasonable reason, she cannot be denied maintenance," remarked the Court.

In a recent case, the Court rejected a petition filed by a 36-year-old man challenging an order directing him to pay ₹5,000 monthly maintenance to his 26-year-old wife. The husband objected to his wife's "modern" lifestyle, claiming it was unacceptable to him due to their orthodox family background. However, the Court found no substantial evidence to prove that the wife was residing separately without a valid reason.

The Court emphasized that as long as the wife is not engaged in criminal activities, she is entitled to live her life according to her own wishes, whether orthodox or modern.

The husband's counsel argued that law and morality cannot be separated and insisted that morality should be prioritized. However, the Court disagreed, highlighting that the trial court had awarded a reasonable maintenance amount considering various factors such as the cost of living and daily needs.

"In the light of the price index, cost of living as well as the cost of goods required for daily needs, this Court is of the considered opinion that by no stretch of imagination, it can be said that the maintenance amount of ₹5,000/- per month is on the higher side," reasoned Justice Ahluwalia.

The Court dismissed the husband's petition while clarifying that its decision wouldn't prevent the wife and child from seeking an enhancement of the maintenance amount through a separate application.

Advocate Paritosh Trivedi represented the petitioner.