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Whether wife can claim interim maintenance so that her income becomes equal with income of husband?

In the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi

(Before G.S Sistani and Jyoti Singh, JJ.)

K.N . v. R.G .

MAT. APP(F.C) 93/2018 and CM APPL 18317/2018

Decided on February 12, 2019

There is no doubt that the appellant has been working with reputed multinational companies. Her own income affidavit reveals that her net income is approximately Rs. 1 Lac per month. There is no child from the wedlock and she has no other liabilities. Looking at the totality of the facts, we find that this is not the case where the appellant is unable to maintain herself. In fact, the earnings of the appellant are sufficient to maintain herself and give her the required comforts of life. The law on the subject as discernible from some of the judgments mentioned above is clear that when a spouse is qualified and has the capacity to earn, normally, interim maintenance is not to be granted. In a given situation, the courts have been granting some maintenance in a case where there is capacity to earn but some other factors prevent the spouse from earning despite making best efforts. However, in a case like the present, where the spouse is qualified and is actually earning, interim maintenance under Section 24 need not be granted. We do not agree with the submission of the appellant that though she is earning a good amount of salary, she should still be given interim maintenance to bring her at par with the lifestyle of the respondent. The provisions of this section are not meant to equalize the income of the wife with that of the husband but are only to see that when divorce or other matrimonial proceedings are filed, either of the party should not suffer because of paucity of source of income and the maintenance is then granted to tie over the litigation expenses and to provide a comfortable life to the spouse. Where, however, both the spouses are earning and have a good salary, merely because there is some salary difference cannot be a reason for seeking maintenance. In the present case, what the appellant seeks is an equalization with the respondent which we are afraid cannot be granted under Section 24.