I read with interest the news item reported in DNA Mumbai, esp. the headline which is so deceptive.
The headline says – Short marriage, small alimony
Well, here is my take on this deceptive, putting wool over the eyes of public kind of news headline.
The news says:
A wife of two and a half months wanted her separated husband to bear the expenses of her higher education in the US. The Bombay high court said no.
The court refused to enhance the interim maintenance for the
woman, a Pune-based dentist.
So far so good… we are on track, I mean you got married for 2.5 months and now want spouse to bear your US education expenses?
Tina and Nitin (names changed) got married on May 5, 2007 and after staying together in Boston for two and a half months, Tina returned to her Pune home. Nitin contended that despite several attempts to call Tina back to Boston, she refused to return.
In August 2007, she came to India, as her grandmother was unwell, and stayed on even after the latter passed away. In September 2008, Nitin filed a divorce petition and the family court granted an interim maintenance of Rs12,000 to Tina as per the Hindu Marriage Act 1955.
Nitin stated that the maintenance amount was too high as he earned only Rs73,620 after tax deductions. His advocate Geeta Mulekar told the court that Tina had not stated that she was a dentist and had her own practice.
Given this is an HMA 24 judgment, the fact that wife had hid her income and practice, that alone was ground for denial of maintenance on grounds of ‘unclean hands’. Anyway, let that slide for a moment…
Tina has claimed the maintenance of Rs2.5 lakh a month. “Because of the attitude of the respondent [Nitin], she is being deprived of higher studies,” Mulekar said, adding that because of Nitin’s assurances she had enrolled in Simmons Woman College in Boston to pursue MBA.
Hmmm… 2.5 months of marriage, 2.5 lakh of maintenance required. Attitude of husband not good, me not able to do higher study in US.!
But the piece of cake is not wife’s demand for such high maintenance, but HC judge’s observation.
The validity of the assurance will have to be examined by the trial court at the time of granting divorce, justice Roshan Dalvi said. The court will have to consider whether educational expenses can be covered under maintenance.
“Only the evidence would determine whether the wife would be entitled to pursue her studies in the US,” the judge said.
Now the HC thinks that the trial court will have to consider whether such promise of bearing higher education expenses in US by husband to wife can be enforced on husband. Helloooo? Even if we assume the husband made such a promise, didn’t the wife promise something in return? Like staying with husband?
Now the judge will say see marriage is a sacred affair etc etc., it is not a contract that you have to have a consideration for each promise between spouses.
That’s exactly what I am saying: if you treat marriage as something lifelong and sacred, then where is the rationale of enforcing a verbal promise when the marriage itself does not seem to exist for any practical purpose. This only seems to suggest that husbands should stop making any kind of promise, esp financial to wives, for you never know when she may leave you and then file case in court to force you to keep your promises. And she does not have to do anything in return. After all, she is abla-naari.