S.127 CrPC | Must Consider Husband’s Financial Status and Altered Circumstances When Determining Alimony in Matrimonial Dispute: Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court has observed that the determination of alimony in matrimonial disputes depends on the financial status of the husband and the standard of living the wife was accustomed to in her matrimonial home.

Judge Chandra Dhari Singh added that the husband’s financial capacity, his actual income with reasonable expenses for his own maintenance, and the dependent family members he is required to support by law, including liabilities, should be taken into consideration, to arrive at the appropriate amount of child support to be paid.

The Court was of the opinion that the expression “change of circumstances” mentioned in article 127(1) of the CrPC is a complete expression which also includes the change of circumstances of the husband.

“The amount of child support once fixed under Section 125(1) Cr.PC is not something that can be considered a global liability for all time to come. It is subject to variation on both sides.It can be increased or decreased according to changed circumstances,“said the Court.

He added “Moreover, the circumstances alleged by the revisionist/wife already existed at the time of the delivery of the initial maintenance judgment; therefore, evidence of such circumstances cannot form the basis for varying the amount of child support under subsection (1) of Section 127 Cr.PC”

The court was dealing with a petition for criminal review filed by a wife seeking an increase in the amount of child support awarded by the senior family court judge, saying it was lower.

See judgment of November 27, 2017, the motion under Art. 125 of the Cr.PC filed by the wife was allowed, whereby the husband was ordered to pay the court costs of Rs. 11,000.

The Court noted that the marriage between the parties was solemnized, however, due to some differences between them, they began to live separately.

She observed that the intention behind the granting of interim or permanent maintenance is to prevent the dependent spouse from being reduced to destitution or vagrancy as a result of the breakdown of the marriage, not to punish the other spouse.

“The obvious scope of subsection (1) of Section 127 Cr.PC is that a provision is made therein for an increase or decrease in the indemnity following a change in the circumstances of the parties at the time of the request for modification of the original support order. It must be shown that there has been a change in the circumstances of the husband or wife, “ said the court.

The Court held that the amount of child support once determined under s. 125(1) of the Cr.PC is not something which can be considered as a general liability for all time to come and the same is subject to variations on either side.

“It may be increased or decreased depending on the changed circumstances. Furthermore, the circumstances alleged by the revisionist/wife already existed at the time of the initial maintenance judgment; therefore, evidence of such circumstances cannot constitute the basis for varying the amount of child support maintenance under subsection (1) of Section 127 Cr.PC In this case, there is nothing in the record to prove that there is has had a change in circumstances that would warrant improved maintenance,” It said.

The Court noted that the wife had not filed any document to assess the exact income of the husband to establish that he earned such a good sum of money.

“Even this Court finds no evidence on the record to determine the respondent’s exact income and there is no change in the circumstances,” It said.

Accordingly, the plea was dismissed.

Case Title: JYOTI @ GAYATRI v. ROHIT SHARMA @ SANTOSH SHARMA

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 561

Click here to read the order

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