Directed to pay maintenance to his estranged wife who left her job alleging domestic violence, a man moved a Delhi court pleading that if at all he is to give maintenance, his wife be directed to do social work in a slum area in lieu of the same.

After mulling over the man’s “misconceived” prayer, the court presided by Additional Sessions Sessions Judge Gautam Manan said: “An order of telling a woman, who is subjected to domestic violence, to do some kind of social work in lieu of maintenance (from her estranged husband) would amount to burdening her and would not lend support to bring her back in a social life.”

The man had approached the Sessions court challenging the Mahila court order by which he was asked to pay a monthly maintenance of Rs.15,000 to his estranged wife, who was once a lecturer of Business Management in Pune.

The woman had filed the plea for maintenance alleging that after their marriage in 2010 she was subjected to domestic violence and was forced to move out of the matrimonial house due to recurrent demands for dowry and harassment.

Before the ASJ, the man contended that either the order of maintenance be set aside or if he is to pay maintenance, then being a professionally qualified person, his estranged wife be also directed to do some social work in a slum area or elsewhere as the court may direct.

“In my considered opinion, this argument of the revisionist is wholly misconceived. A woman who is subjected to domestic violence and is trying to again come to the terms of her life cannot be forced to do social work against her own wishes,” the ASJ said.

To the man’s argument that his wife can find any employment but is not working only to extract maintenance, the court said “there is nothing on record which establishes that the respondent (woman) is only interested to take the maintenance amount”.

The ASJ, however, added that if the woman wishes to, she can “very well do any social work of her choice but forcing her to do some work would be interfering in her personal life and personal choices.”

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