Madhya Pradesh High Court: A wife staying away from her spouse is not entitled to claim maintenance

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In ‘Anil Jain vs. Sunita Jain’ Justice Jarat Kumar Jain of the Madhya Pradesh High Court (Indore bench) held that a wife who has been residing apart from her husband was not entitled to claim any maintenance from her spouse under section 125 of the Code of Criminal procedure, 1973. An application was filed before the high court by the petitioner to overturn the order of the trial court which had directed him to pay maintenance amounting to four thousand rupees on a monthly basis to the respondent wife.

The petitioner contended that despite several requests made by him to dwell together, the respondent wife had refused to stay with him. He also claimed that the respondent wife was an independent working legal professional and could maintain herself and thus not liable to claim maintenance under section 125 of the Code of Criminal procedure. The High court overturned the order of the family court and held that the respondent was living separately on her own accord and thus not liable for maintenance under 125 of the code of criminal procedure. 

The court observed: “Thus, it cannot be held that she was thrown with force from her matrimonial home or she was forced to leave her matrimonial home. With the aforesaid, I am of the view that the finding of the trial court that the non-applicant/wife has sufficient reason to live separately is not sustainable in law. Non-applicant/wife is residing separately without any reason, hence, she is not entitled for maintenance under Section 125 of CrPC.”

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