Nearly three decades after her divorce, a Delhi woman has been able to secure maintenance for herself and her son from her former husband in a court here.
It took the city's lower judiciary 17 years to decide the woman's maintenance plea, which she had filed belatedly in April 1995, 12 years after her divorce in 1983 due to lack of awareness of her legal rights.
As the Tis Hazari courts adjudicated the plea, the woman spent the prime of her life waging a lone legal battle, while her son turned a major and attained an age after which he required no maintenance.
A city sessions court, on March 25, finally ordered Delhi's Tilak Nagar resident Inderjeet Singh to pay maintenance to his divorced wife Jasbir Kaur, dismissing his appeal against a magisterial court's order of May 26, 2010 for maintenance to her.
Singh, a former sergeant with the Indian Air Force, was asked to pay alimony to Kaur by Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Rajneesh Kumar Gupta who said, "It is a settled law that a divorced wife is entitled to and can claim maintenance till she remarries. Divorce does not end the right to maintenance under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code."
The ASJ asked Singh to pay maintenance, upholding the May 26, 2010 order of the magisterial court, which had told him to pay his ex-wife a monthly maintenance of Rs 3,000 from the date of filing of her application in April 1995.
The magisterial court had also ordered him to pay with retrospective effect the monthly maintenance of Rs 3000 to his son "from December 1985 till November 1996 when he attained the majority."
Kaur, a lower-rung employee with erstwhile Delhi Administration, was married to Singh in February 1978 and was blessed with a son on November 25, 1978. The couple, however, was divorced on March 14, 1983 with mutual consent.
In her plea for maintenance, Kaur had alleged that she had to divorce Singh as per the provisions for divorce by mutual consent, which her in-laws secured under duress. Her in-laws ill-treated her for not bringing enough dowry and threatened to kill her, she had alleged.
As the magistrate ordered Singh to pay maintenance to his former wife, he moved the sessions court challenging the order.
Singh pleaded to the court that he earlier worked as an IAF sergeant but had quit the job in 1985 and was receiving a paltry sum of Rs 2,500 as pension. He said he had no other means to earn.