In a rare instance, a Magistrate Court recently sent a BMC employee to one month in prison for failing to pay Rs 2.64 lakh in maintenance to his estranged wife. The Court said the accused be released after he pays up.
In 2017, the man who was earning Rs 30,000 had been ordered to pay monthly maintenance of Rs 6,000. However, when he didn’t pay the money, the woman moved court, seeking his imprisonment under provisions of the Domestic Violence Act since he had not paid the arrears.
The couple was married in 2008. The woman had accused his family & him of cruelty. She alleged that the man told her that he never wanted to marry her. She further alleged that the husband’s family did various things to ensure that they never had privacy. The woman also accused them of physically abusing her. In 2016, she moved to the Magistrate Court. In 2017, the Court ordered the maintenance to be paid.
However, the husband did not pay up. The woman again moved the court earlier this year. The Court had also issued an order to the man’s employer to deduct Rs 10,000 per month from his salary. However, as he remained absent from work he was being paid lesser & so deduction of maintenance was not possible by the employer.
The woman then moved to Court to recover the arrears. In Feb, the Court ordered the man to be sent to prison for specifically defaulting on a month’s maintenance. The man made a part payment of Rs 20,000. The Court then ordered for his release. It warned him that if he didn’t pay the remaining amount, he would be back in prison.
When he defaulted again, the woman moved court. However, the man did not respond. The court issued a distress warrant against him.
The Court noted in the Order that “The record goes to show that respondent [man] is a government servant & getting handsome salary, but he is not paying maintenance to the applicant [woman]. I have asked respondent whether he is ready to pay maintenance or part maintenance…He submits that he will not pay single pai to the applicant towards the maintenance, as he is ready to cohabit with her”.
It further observed that the man had even submitted that he was ready to go to prison but not pay up.
The Court said that “Today also, he is not ready to pay maintenance or part payment towards it. Therefore, I have no alternative but to send respondent to prison for default of maintenance…”