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Court asks man with two wives to pay more maintenance to a wife he abused

06:34 AM Oct 25, 2021 | Bhavna Uchil

A sessions court on Friday directed a 43-year-old man with two wives to pay more maintenance to his second wife whom he subjected to domestic violence stating in its order that since he can easily afford to have two wives, then it follows that he is well capable of maintaining them both with the desired dignity and standard.

Resisting paying more maintenance, the husband had told the court that he had to maintain his first wife and their two children and had the responsibility of his parents. Additional Sessions Judge UM Padwad said, "It is to be noted that respondent no 2 (husband) has another wife and two children from her. Since he can easily afford to have two wives, it follows that he is well-capable of maintaining both the wives with the desired dignity and standard."

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The victim had approached the court for better monetary relief at the Mazgaon magistrate court. She had filed a plea for relief under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act and had directed monthly maintenance of only Rs. 3,000. The sessions court marginally enhanced the maintenance to Rs. 5,000 instead. The court reasoned while increasing the maintenance that it is a matter of common experience that the cost of living in Mumbai is very high. It said that it would be challenging for the woman to meet even her basic needs out of the monetary relief of Rs. 3,000.

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The husband had told the court he was a labourer earning Rs. 9,000 monthly. Judge Padwad called it a "calculated" and "opportunistic" defence as he had not furnished any further details, including the work's nature. On the other hand, the wife had claimed he acted as a money lender but could not show any evidence in that regard.

The Mazgaon court had ordered only Rs. 3,000 as maintenance as there was no sufficient material to show the man's exact income. Judge Padwad said it is always for the husband to state his precise income since it can never be within the wife's reach to collect documents. The woman is not expected to suffer for no fault on her part simply because she could not produce documents to show his exact income. The court added that the husband has avoided furnishing income details and is better placed to a meagre quantum and then ordered the monetary relief to be enhanced.

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