Husband to pay for wife's travel expenses for divorce hearings

Kanchan Chaudhari

Mumbai, Oct. 27 -- Holding that a wife is entitled to interim maintenance, the Bombay high court, last week, ordered an Indian-origin Nigerian businessman to pay for the expenses incurred by his estranged Dubai-based wife to travel for the divorce proceedings in Mumbai. The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Nitin Jamdar was hearing a petition for interim maintenance filed by the wife, Hannah. She had moved the high court after a single bench judge upheld a family court order rejecting her plea for interim maintenance for her son and her during the pendency of the divorce petition filed by her husband, Deepak Bakshani. The family court had rejected her plea on grounds that she was taking good care of her son even in the absence of maintenance and that he was not a minor.

Hannah's counsel Mrunalini Deshmukh said that Bakshani owns several properties in India and abroad, including Nigeria, and has a fleet of luxury cars.

The bench said that a woman is entitled to interim maintenance, especially when the husband has filed the divorce petition. Noting that the single judge had not taken the lifestyle of the husband into account, the division bench granted Hannah an interim maintenance of Rs. 25,000 a month.

Stating that maintaining a child properly cannot be the reason for being denied maintenance, the court granted Hannah a monthly maintenance of Rs. 25,000 for the son. It also added that the husband will have to pay for his son's education, irrespective of whether he is minor or not.

The division bench has directed Bakshani to deposit a sum of Rs. 1 lakh every time Hannah is required to travel to India for attending the divorce proceedings. The businessman will also have to deposit Rs1 lakh towards the arrears of travel expenses incurred by his wife for earlier trips.

The deadline for depositing the arrears towards interim maintenance for his son is November 30 while for his wife is December 31.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.