Mother also responsible for Child maintenance

Claiming that the Rs 5,000 monthly maintenance that her ex-husband was paying toward the upkeep of their 10-year-old son was very meagre, a Colaba woman moved the Bombay High Court asking for a higher amount.

However, the court ruled some of her expenditure – like an annual Rs 1.44 lakh towards the child’s driver and petrol expenses – were exorbitant. Instead of the annual Rs 3 lakh, the woman claimed, the HC granted her a monthly maintenance of Rs 8,000, saying that since she too was earning she should also pay towards the child’s expenses.

On March 4, the Bandra family court had ordered her husband to pay her monthly maintenance of Rs 5,000. The mother and son filed a petition in the HC seeking an enhancement.

The woman argued before the HC that she spends a whopping Rs 2,94,975 annually on the child’s maintenance – including fees for school, tuition, football, swimming, drawing, rifle shooting, piano classes, etc. She pointed that the figure also includes expenses for daily snacks and other charges. She also showed her annual petrol expenses and driver’s salary, which amounted to Rs 72,000 each, totalling an annual Rs 1.44 lakh.

She told the court her son who studies at a high-profile school in Central Mumbai commutes by car for which she engaged a separate driver. However, the husband’s counsel argued the woman was also drawing a high income, and there was no way that the child had the time to do so many activities.

While the husband, who initially used to work at a managerial position, drew a monthly salary of over Rs 45,000, he claims that he now works as a senior executive and draws only Rs 15,000 per month. The wife argued that this was impossible to accept and contended that the family court had granted a very meagre amount as maintenance, while she was entitled to Rs 20,000 per month.

The HC held that ‘taking a broad view of the matter’ the total expenditure for the child’s maintenance comes to approximately Rs 2 lakh annually. Justice Abhay Oka said, “The claim of the yearly expenditure of Rs 1,44,000 towards the salary of the driver and petrol, at this stage, appear to be exorbitant. All this will have to be scrutinized and considered when the parties lead evidence.”

Justice Oka added, “As both husband and wife are earning, they will have to share the maintenance expenditure. Therefore, the interim maintenance will have to be fixed at Rs 8,000 per month.”

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