'The company has Virat Kohli as ambassador' - Delhi Court rejects man's plea of inability to pay maintenance to estranged wife

The man claimed his income as "nil" and that he was living on charity as reasons behind inability to pay his estranged wife monthly maintenance.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: BCCI)

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A plea by a man regarding his inability to pay to his estranged wife interim maintenance because he was without any income was rejected by the Delhi District Court on the ground that the company where he works as Director has Virat Kohli as its brand ambassador, establishing that the petitioner-husband was a “man of means”.

Additional Sessions Judge Anuj Agrawal was hearing the appeal of the petitioner, who challenged the order of the trial court granting ₹30,000 maintenance to his estranged wife, who alleged she was subjected to domestic violence by her husband and mother-in-law and was living separately without any source of income or means of livelihood.

The husband, who challenged the trial court order claiming he lived on charity and had “nil” income, was determined by the Delhi court as the director of a company that manufactured a product promoted by Indian skipper Kohli.

“This court can take judicial notice of the fact that the brand ambassador of the said brand is Virat Kohli, the test cricket captain of Team India. Therefore, it looks highly improbable that a company which is running into great losses (as claimed by the appellant), was in a position to afford a celebrity of such stature for the advertisement of its product,” the bench held.

The wife’s counsel had placed on record a wrapper of the product, leading the court to eventually adjudge the husband a “man of means” employed under a large business but impersonating to be a pauper to deny his estranged wife her legitimate claim of maintenance.

The wife, who filed her complaint under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), had sought other reliefs as well apart from maintenance. The trial court had assessed the man’s monthly income as ₹1,00,000/month, therefore, directing him to pay his wife monthly maintenance.

The husband, on the other hand, contended that the woman was educated and earned sufficient from her business, and was not entitled towards any maintenance. However, the woman argued he suppressed facts and tried to deceive by claiming his income as nil.

Highlighting the tendency of guilty parties to willfully conceal their income in such cases, the court observed: “It appears that in the instant case also, appellant/husband withheld his true income from the court. It cannot be believed that a person who was capable of supporting a family by getting married, would all of a sudden become devoid of all sources of income.”