Alimony cannot be decided on the basis of the husband’s income-tax returns as the I-T document is not the “gospel truth”, the Gujarat high court has ruled.  The HC gave the ruling while rejecting the plea of a Vadodara doctor, who moved the court against the maintenance sought by his wife.

Rani Tahelramani filed a case under the Domestic Violence Act against her doctor husband Anup Vidhani. She also sought maintenance from her husband, but the magistrate declined her petition. When the proceedings dragged on, she appealed in the sessions and district court and demanded alimony.

In the sessions court, the wife claimed that her husband runs an eye hospital and has a monthly income of over Rs 1 lakh. The surgeon, however, claimed that he is engaged by a private hospital and is paid an honorarium of Rs 4,000 per month. He even produced documents of his I-T returns to prove that he did not earn much. However, the sessions court last month had asked the doctor to pay Rs 15,000 per month to his wife from January 3. To challenge the order, Vidhani approached the high court claiming that payment of such a huge amount would be impossible for him.

After hearing the case, HC Justice Akil Kureshi upheld the sessions court’s decision of an alimony of Rs 15,000 and observed that the magistrate was wrong in denying maintenance to the wife. The judge said that Dr Vidhani is a qualified eye surgeon and has also been to London. Though the wife failed to produce evidence of the husband’s income, “one cannot lose sight of the fact that I-T returns are mostly the declaration by a person of his own income which need not be taken as a gospel truth,” the judge observed

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