Disabled husband need not pay maintenance; Karnataka HC orders grandfather to pay child support


PTI, Apr 13, 2024, 11:11 AM IST

The Karnataka High Court has declined to compel a man with a 75 per cent disability to provide maintenance to his estranged wife, and overturned a lower court’s order for his arrest or the levying of a fine.

The single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna emphasised the man’s physical limitations, stating, “The husband walks with the help of crutches,” making it impractical to expect him to seek employment in order to make maintenance payments.

Marital discord led the husband to petition for annulment of the marriage, alleging that the wife left him voluntarily. Amidst this, the wife sought interim maintenance under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, and was initially granted Rs 15,000 per month.

However, the husband subsequently became disabled and this hindered his ability to pay maintenance.

The court scrutinised the wife’s employment and the husband’s disability certificate, questioning the rationale behind demanding maintenance from an incapacitated husband. It underscored the need to consider all factors and the husband’s inability to earn due to his disability.

Highlighting the staggering arrears of Rs 19,04,000, covering the period of disability, the court expressed concern over the financial strain on the husband. Rejecting the notion of tapping into the husband’s father’s resources, the court however deemed it appropriate for the husband’s father to support the grandchild’s needs.

The court rejected the wife’s plea for enhanced maintenance, labeling it untenable, and mandated the husband’s father to settle the arrears until the onset of the man’s disability.

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