Denial of Maintenance Allowance to wife would cause a Economic Abuse u/s 3 of DV Act – Tripura HC

In the case of Ramendra Kishore Bhattacharjee v. Smt. Madhurima Bhattacharjee (Crl. Rev. P. No. 36 of 2020), the Tripura high court held that denial of maintenance allowance to the wife causes ‘Economic Abuse’ to her within the meaning of Domestic Violence u/s 3 of DV Act.

This criminal revision petition has been filed u/s 397 r/w 401 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 by the husband against the judgment and order of Additional session judge as well as Judicial Magistrate (First Class) under the protection of women from Domestic violence act, 2005.

Petitioner challenged the impugned judgement of Additional Session Judge who partly allow the appeal of of JM I and held that husband committed acts of domestic violence upon his wife and ordered for grant of monetary relief in the form of maintenance of Rs. 15,000 per month to be given to the wife under sec. 20(1)(d) of the Act.

The petitioner challenged the impugned order by arguing that the learned courts below have failed to appreciate the fact that the wife has left the son in the custody of the husband and husband alone has been shouldering all expenses of the son including his educational expenses and along with that he had medical expenses of his old ailing mothers on his shoulder.

The respondent stated that since the petitioner was a government employee receiving a monthly salary of Rs 50,000/- per month so husband is eligible enough of maintaining his wife. Respondent also argued that she is entitled to the same standard of living as she would have lived in the house of her husband.

Justice S.G. Chattopadhyay while interpreting sec. 20 (Monetary reliefs) read with sec. 3 (Definition of Domestic Violence) of the Act observed as follows:

*”Under Section 3 of the DV Act which defines domestic violence, ‘economic abuse’ is a form of domestic violence. Clause (iv) of explanation I of Section 3 relates to ‘economic abuse’ which includes deprivation of all or any economic financial resources to which the aggrieved person is entitled under any law or custom whether payable under an order of a court or otherwise.”*

Looking over the facts of the case, the high court held that the petitioner is a government employee and have a good salary along with that the wife is just a house wife and she do not have any source of income for his livelihood so the court ruled that, “In these circumstances, denial of maintenance allowance to the wife obviously causes ‘economic abuse’ to her within the meaning of domestic violence as under Section 3 of the DV Act.

The court upheld the order of Additional Session Judge, allowing the maintenance of 15000 rupees to the wife.

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