Friday, September 28, 2018

Gujarat HC makes ‘law student’ pay wife, kid ₹50k a month

The Gujarat high court ordered a “law student” to pay his estranged wife and daughter Rs 50,000 maintenance every month after he did not reveal his income and financial status and the court made the adverse inference that he was hiding facts about his income.

Amit Shah, who is studying law, was a techie and worked for multinational company Dell in the US. After marital discord, as the divorce proceedings started and his wife Archana and daughter claimed maintenance, he appeared to have left the USA and began studying law in India.
The high court quashed a Vadodara family court’s order from May 2017 that he pay Rs 5,000 as maintenance to his little daughter. The lower court had denied maintenance to the wife.  Justice Paresh Upadhyay took an “adverse inference” from Shah hiding his income and considering the woman’s claim that he belonged to a “rich family”, ordered Shah to pay Rs 50,000 to his wife and daughter.

Amit and Archana got married in January 2008. They moved to the US as Amit worked for an MNC. Their daughter was born in 2010. Due to marital discord, his wife returned to India in September 2011 with their daughter. Shah filed for divorce in a Vadodara court through his father in December 2012 and made several pleadings, which the HC said were “not in good taste and were very ugly”. The court avoided mentioning them to maintain “decorum”.

On the other hand, the wife and child sought maintenance of Rs 50,000 and Rs 25,000 respectively. Dissatisfied at the family court’s order, the wife approached the HC, which asked for details about Shah’s passport, visa and other employment-related matters. The husband produced hundreds of documents, but none about his income.

The family court asked also asked Shah to show his passport. He claimed he could not find it. He maintained this before the HC too, but Justice Upadhyay questioned whether he had filed a police complaint for the missing document. Shah had no answer to that.
Shah told the HC that he had no issues with paying for his daughter, but since he is a student, he should not be fastened with the liability to maintain his wife.
The HC pointed out that while Shah claims that he couldn’t afford to pay maintenance, when he was seeking the custody of the daughter, he had claimed that he could afford to educate his daughter at an international school in the US.

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