NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court has affirmed that a wife cannot be coerced to work solely based on her educational qualifications, nor can it be assumed that her decision not to work is a deliberate ploy to seek maintenance from her estranged husband.

The court made this observation during a case in which a man was requesting a reduction in the interim maintenance amount he had to pay to his wife, reducing it from Rs 25,000 per month to Rs 15,000 per month, citing her possession of a BSc degree.

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A bench, led by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, noted that while it was acknowledged that the wife held a degree, she had never been employed in a manner that generated income, and therefore, there was no justification to modify the interim maintenance amount established by the family court.
The bench, which also included Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, emphasized that it is not appropriate to deduce that a wife is obligated to work merely because she holds a bachelor’s degree.
Furthermore, it should not be assumed that her decision not to work is driven solely by an intention to claim interim maintenance from her husband, as stated in a recent order.
The court also declined to increase the maintenance amount as requested by the wife, as it found no valid grounds for such a request.
The family court had already taken into account the wife and their son’s expenses in a reasonable manner.
Nonetheless, the court revoked the Rs 1,000 daily penalty imposed on the husband for the delayed payment of interim maintenance and ordered that interest at a rate of 6 percent per annum be paid to the wife as compensation for the delay in receiving interim maintenance.
The court also nullified the penalty of Rs 550 per day that was imposed for the delayed payment of litigation costs.
With agency inputs

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