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Gujarat High Court ruled, wife cannot make In- laws liable for maintenance, when the husband is alive

Ahmedabad: Honourable high Court of Gujarat has observed that the right of wife to maintenance is existing only against her husband, till he is alive. The decision was made by the High Court of Gujarat after overturning the City Sessions Court’s Order in the case, where the said Sessions court had made the mother- in- law and brother- in- law of the wife liable for payment of maintenance of certain amount , considering that her husband was untraceable.

The decision was made by the honourable High Court of Gujarat’s bench of Justice J. B. Pardiwala, in the case, where the claimant- Zahinbanu moved to the court for maintenance after separated from her husband. He case was initiated in the year 2011, under the provisions of DV Act. The Trial Court had firstly denied the claim for maintenance, however, in an appeal the City Sessions Court had granted the same by fixing the liability upon the mother- in- law and brother- in- law and also upon her husband, to pay certain maintenance.

However, said aggrieved parties have went to the High Court in the year 2014, where they claimed the quashing of such order of the City Sessions Court.

The bench of High Court of Gujarat further observed that when the husband is dead, the DV Act’s covered maintenance could not be claimed from the mother- in- law and from any other in- laws except from Father- in- law.

It is also notable that the high Court in this case have cited the judgement of the honourable Supreme Court of India, where it was observed that the maintenance could also be met from any properties in which the husband of the claimant- wife was having interest as co- sharer.

As such, the bench of Justice- Pardiwala of the High Court of Gujarat observed on perusal of all the material available on record of the case, that the said concerned complaint which was filed by the wife was brought with the malafide intention to “wreak vengeance” for the purpose of settling “personal score”.

Moreover, the court has also guided the wife- party that she can file a separate complaint, when she submitted during hearing that, while the matter was pending her husband had fraudulently transferred her ownership of the house to his brother.