Husband’s family assets also to be considered in deciding alimony: Bombay High Court

MUMBAI: Apart from the husband’s income, the earnings and assets of his family members should also be taken into consideration while deciding on the maintenance amount or other reliefs to be granted to an estranged wife, the Bombay high court has said.

The court, in a recent verdict upholding the judgment of a trial court directing the husband to produce documents related to his income tax and sales tax as well as that of his parents and business firms held by the family said, “It may be true that husband alone is liable to provide maintenance; but even the financial position of his parents and his family as such is required to be taken into consideration for deciding the quantum of maintenance. If the husband and his family is having several businesses and income, then production of income/sales tax documents will be relevant for assessing the quantum of maintenance and other reliefs.”

The husband had challenged the order of the trial court which had allowed an application filed by the wife seeking directions to the husband to produce income documents of year before they got married. The husband argued that the application filed by the wife was vague, and it is not proved how the documents would be relevant to her. The wife claimed that the documents were required for determining the income of the husband.

The husband also argued that under the Domestic Violence Act there is no provision to call upon opposite party to produce documents. The court after going through the arguments and the Act noted, “As regards the procedure, section 28(2) of the Domestic Violence Act makes it clear that the procedure has to be liberal and not necessarily the one as prescribed by the provisions of the code of criminal procedure, and therefore cannot come in the way of the trial court in arriving at just and proper decision of the case and for that purpose directing the husband to produce the documents.”