Wife can seek maintenance if man brings another woman home

A woman cannot be faulted for not living with husband when he brings another woman in the house and she can demand maintenance, Bombay High Court (HC) has ruled in a divorce case.

"Whether or not he (husband) is entitled under personal law to bring her (second wife), it has no bearing on the hurt the wife would feel to have another woman in the house. In such cases, emotional and mental violence is not only apparent, but proved. That itself would give any woman a just cause to not live with her husband and demand maintenance," ruled justice Roshan Dalvi. The judge was hearing a petition last week by Irfan Shaikh challenging a February 6 order of a family court in Nashik asking him to pay Rs 2,000 each to his wife and child from the date of filing the petition, November 12, 2009.

The High Court noted that though Shaikh claimed wife deserted him and he never deserted her even by remarriage, the wife had sent legal notice to him. He did not reply to the notice seeking reconciliation and cohabitation.

"The case of the husband is hence false," justice Dalvi said. "The learned (family court) judge has also rightly considered that the husband deserted the wife in as much as he never paid maintenance to her and in fact got married to another, by which he deserted her," he said.

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