Delhi High Court: List all expenses in matrimony dispute
Brand of mobile, wristwatch, pen, wages of maid, expenditure incurred on functions and festivals are among a long list of details which a husband and wife, embroiled in matrimonial dispute, will now have to disclose in the affidavits to be placed before the courts to determine their true income.
This directive came from Delhi High Court which said on Thursday that a detailed affidavit of assets, income and expenditure of both the spouses is necessary to determine their true income and to fix maintenance, permanent alimony and right in the joint properties.
Justice J.R. Midha, who was of the view that matrimonial jurisdiction deserves special attention and maintenance applications should be decided expeditiously, asked the subordinate courts to expedite the maintenance proceedings and make an endeavour to decide them within the prescribed time. “It is the duty of the court to ascertain the true income of the parties and then pass the appropriate order relating to maintenance. Truth is the foundation of justice. Dispensation of justice, based on truth, is an essential feature in the justice delivery system. People would have faith in courts when truth alone triumphs. Justice based on truth would establish peace in the society,” the high court said in its 79-page judgment.
The court said it was of the view that the mandatory filing of the affidavit of assets, income and expenditure by the parties in a detailed prescribed form should be incorporated in the statutes, as in the developed countries and asked the Centre to consider the suggestion. It appreciated the assistance rendered by senior advocate Sunil Mittal, amicus curiae Anu Narula and law researcher Akshay Chowdhary for extensive research on corresponding law in other countries.
The court said it has examined the formats of the affidavits of assets, income and expenditure to be filed by the parties in matrimonial litigation in the UK, the USA, Canada, Ireland, Australia, Singapore and South Africa and has incorporated some important questions and documents in the format.
The high court had in 2015 issued directions and formulated an affidavit of assets, income and expenditure to be filed by the husband and wife at the very threshold of matrimonial litigation. Later the directions and format was modified by the court in May and December 2017. It again modified the directions and format of the affidavit in its Thursday’s verdict to make them more comprehensive and useful.
According to the modified affidavit, a salaried person is required to disclose the particulars of his employment, including salary, dearness allowance, commissions, bonus, perks and income tax. The verdict said that a self-employed person has to disclose the nature of business/profession, share, net worth, number of employees, annual turnover, gross profit, income tax and monthly withdrawal.
The parties are also required to disclose income from other sources like agriculture, rent, interest on bank deposits, investments, profits on sale of assets, particulars of immovable properties, financial assets including bank and demat accounts and foreign investments. In movable assets, they have to disclose motor vehicles, mobiles, computer, laptop, electronic gadgets, gold, silver and diamond jewellery, intangible assets and properties acquired by the family members or inheritance.
The affidavit also requires them to disclose their standard of living, credit/debit cards, membership of clubs, social media accounts, domestic helps and their wages, mode of travel in city and outside, category of hotels, hospitals for medical treatment, frequency of foreign travel, brand of mobile, wristwatch, pen, expenditure ordinarily incurred on functions, festivals and marriage of family members.