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  • New Delhi, Nov 18 , 2010, DHNS:

    In an observation with far-reaching implications, the Supreme Court has said that a woman who deserted her
    husband and the matrimonial home and refused to return despite repeated requests was not entitled to

    Upholding a decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a bench headed by Justice
    V S Sirpurkar said the law of the land did not allow maintenance in cases where the wife
    deserted her husband, children and the matrimonial home.

    In the case before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Poonam, who was married to
    Mahender Kumar of Jind on January 23, 1992, left her matrimonial home on March 18,
    1998, alleging harassment and dowry demands. She also left her children.
    Poonam later moved the family court, seeking divorce on grounds of cruelty. But Mahender Kumar filed an
    application before the court on February 20, 2002, praying for restoration of conjugal rights under the Hindu
    Marriage Act.
    She did not respond to the application, and Kumar was granted ex parte decree as it was construed that Poonam
    would not return to her matrimonial home.
    Fresh appeal
    Two years later, Poonam approached the family court again, seeking divorce — on the ground that she was living
    separately — and demanding maintenance.
    Though the court granted her divorce, her appeal for maintenance was turned down.
    The Supreme Court bench said: “You left the matrimonial home on your own, and now you want maintenance. Is
    this the law of the country? What is the justification for your staying separately?”
    No ill-treatment
    When the case reached the Supreme Court, Poonam challenged the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s decision,


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