Mon. May 27th, 2024

A recent decision by a metropolitan magistrate in Bandra, Mumbai, has garnered attention for its unique ruling regarding the importance of pets in addressing emotional needs after the breakdown of relationships. On July 11, 2023, Magistrate Komalsing Rajput dismissed a husband’s plea to reduce the maintenance amount payable to his estranged wife, who had sought interim maintenance under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. The court emphasized the significance of the wife’s pet dogs in “fulfilling emotional deficits” caused by the marital separation and subsequently ordered the husband to pay for the upkeep of these animals.

The case involved a 55-year-old woman who filed for maintenance under Section 12 of the DV Act and sought funds to support her three beloved Rottweiler dogs. However, her husband contested this request, arguing that pet care should not be considered grounds for claiming maintenance.

Rejecting the husband’s argument, Magistrate Rajput firmly stated that pets are an integral part of a respectable lifestyle and play a vital role in helping individuals lead healthy lives by filling the emotional void that often arises after relationship breakdowns. Consequently, the judge ruled that the husband’s contention could not be used to reduce the maintenance amount owed to his wife.

The woman, represented by advocate Shweta Moray, filed the plea alleging domestic violence against her husband. Alongside the allegations, she sought a monthly maintenance amount of ₹70,000. On June 20, the court partially granted her plea, ordering the husband to pay ₹50,000 as interim maintenance until the case’s final disposal.

In making the decision, the court considered the financial standing of both parties and found no substantial evidence supporting the husband’s claims of business losses. Additionally, the court opined that the maintenance awarded to the wife should align with her lifestyle and cover her essential requirements.

The woman, who had no source of income and was in poor health, sought interim maintenance due to her dependent status. She emphasized the care she provided for her three Rottweiler dogs, highlighting their reliance on her.

The court noted that the couple had been married since 1986 and had two daughters who were now settled abroad. The spouses’ differences emerged in 2021, and the wife alleged that her husband had sent her to Mumbai with promises of providing maintenance and basic necessities, assurances that were not fulfilled.

The woman also accused her husband of domestic violence during their time together. In his defense, the husband claimed to have made certain payments to her during the intervening period.

After reviewing the submitted documents, the magistrate concluded that the woman had established a prima facie case of domestic violence, entitling her to interim maintenance.

This ruling by the Mumbai court has drawn attention due to its unusual decision regarding the importance of pets in addressing emotional needs following the end of relationships. It sets a precedent for recognizing the emotional support and companionship that pets can provide during difficult times like marital separations.

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