The Bombay High Court recently enhanced the interim compensation sought by one Catherine Edwards from Rs 8,000 to Rs 50,000 and set aside two judgments, one by the magistrate court granting her only Rs 8,000 per month as maintenance and the other by an Additional Sessions Judge who rejected her appeal against the said judgment.
Catherine had sought interim maintenance under Section 23(2) of the protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Since her plea was rejected before the appellate court as well, she filed a writ petition before the high court challenging the order dated November 28, 2013 passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate and the judgment of Additional Sessions Judge dated November 19, 2014.
Justice MS Sonak noted that the order by the Metropolitan Magistrate was cryptic and allowed Catherine’s petition.
Advocate KD Suryawanshi submitted on behalf of Catherine that her husband Edward has been working as Maintenance Mechanic General in COSTAIN, a company based out of Abu Dhabi for the past 11 years and is getting salary of 15,000 dirhams per month i.e., Rs 2,25,000­ per month. Despite that, the courts chose to ignore the said fact and awarded a paltry sum of Rs. 8,000, in all, per month to the petitioner and her son, while Catherine had sought Rs 80,000 per month as maintenance.
In his reply before the magistrate court, Edward had admitted to having a salary of 15,000 dirhams but stated that since Catherine had withdrawn from his company on her own and had sold a chawl owned by him, she was not entitled to maintenance.
The court noted that the salary certificate placed on record does indicate that Edward made close to 15,000 dirhams per month which is more than Rs 2 lakh per month at the time Catherine filed an application under the DV Act. Thus, the court said-
“Despite, the aforesaid material, the trial Court, by simply surmising the higher cost of living abroad and the amount of E.M.I. which Respondent No. 1 claims, he was paying in respect of same flat, by very cryptic order directed Respondent No. 1 to pay the maintenance of only Rs. 8,000/­ p.m. to the Petitioner and her son Christ.”
Whereas, the appeal court dismissed Catherine’s appeal noting that there was no evidence to show that Edward made 15000 dirhams per month. The court observed:
“The Appeal Court, it appears, did not even bother to look to the pleadings as well as the documents on record before dismissing the Petitioner’s Appeal.”
Finally, the court said:
“On the basis material produced on record, this is a fit case wherein the Respondent No. 1, by way of interim maintenance sought to have been directed to pay the interim maintenance of at least Rs. 50,000/­ p.m. to the Petitioner and her son Christ. There is nothing on record to indicate that the Petitioner has some substantial source of income. In any case considering the income of the Respondent No. 1 and consequently the life style that the parties were accustomed to, it is only appropriate that the Respondent No. 1 pays interim maintenance of Rs. 50,000/­ p.m. to the Petitioner and her son Christ.”