Maintenance for Formerly Employed Wife

In the High Court of Karnataka at Bengaluru

Criminal Revision Petition No.1324 of 2015

Shilpashree JM & Ors………… Petitioners
Gurumanjunatha & Ors …………… Respondent

Recently, the Karnataka High Court ruled that a wife who was previously employed cannot sit idle and expect to receive the entire maintenance amount from the husband. A look at the highlights of the judgment.


  1. Shilpashree (“Shilpa”) and her son filed a case under Protection of women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (“Domestic Violence” Act) against her husband Gurumanjunatha (“Guru”) claiming maintenance and compensation. In the course of the judgement, the Court directed Guru to pay maintenance of Rs. 10,000 to Shilpa and Rs. 5,000 to their son along with compensation of Rs. 3 Lakhs for mental agony.
  2. Aggrieved by the order, Guru filed an appeal in the Additional City Civil & Sessions Court seeking relief. The Court reduced the maintenance to be paid to Shilpa to Rs. 5,000 (from Rs. 10,000/-) and further reduced the compensation for mental agony from Rs. 3 lakhs to Rs. 2 Lakhs. The maintenance of Rs. 5,000 to be paid to the son was not reduced.
  3. Being aggrieved by the order reducing the maintenance, Shilpa and her son filed a criminal revision petition before the Hon’ble Karnataka High Court. Counsel for Shilpa submitted that the compensation awarded is meagre and that the Shilpa and son are incapable of maintaining themselves with such meagre amount. Further the amount has been reduced without any proper reason.


Analysis and Judgment 

While examining the facts and circumstances during this case, the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka observed that Shilpa was working before marriage. She admitted to it during her cross examination. She resigned her job after marriage. There was no explanation as to why she is incapable of working now. The Hon’ble Karnataka HC was of the view that that she could not remain idle and seek entire maintenance from her husband. She is also legally bound to make some effort to meet her livelihood and can seek only supportive maintenance from her husband.

On the above grounds, the Karnataka High Court upheld the order of the first appellate reducing the maintenance amount  to be paid to the wife by the husband.    



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