A Closer Look at Nirmalya Bhattacharya vs Smt. Bachendri Ray

Introduction: In a recent legal development, the case of Nirmalya Bhattacharya vs Smt. Bachendri Ray sheds light on the intricacies of alimony proceedings. The petitioner-husband sought relief under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, challenging an order granting alimony and litigation costs to the opposite party-wife.

Background: The case originated from a suit filed by the petitioner-husband, addressing issues of cruelty, both physical and mental, and the non-consummation of the marriage. The petitioner sought a declaration of voidability of the marriage and challenged the validity of the registered marriage certificate.

Key Arguments: The petitioner, representing himself, argued that the trial court awarded alimony based on the misconception that his resignation from employment was not proven. He contended that he obtained acceptance of his resignation post-hearing but was denied the opportunity to submit the same for consideration.

The petitioner emphasized the wife’s education and employment history, disputing her claim of resignation and alleging suppression of income. He also highlighted his own health issues, being a cancer patient undergoing treatment, and the financial responsibilities of caring for dependent and ailing parents.

The wife’s counsel argued that the petitioner, a Senior Associate at Cognizant Technology Solutions US Corporation, earns a substantial salary, justifying the awarded alimony. The wife’s alleged criminal cases against the petitioner were presented as a rebuttal, questioning the husband’s approach to the court.

Court’s Observations: The court recognized both parties’ education and earning capacities. It noted that Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act allows both spouses to seek alimony. The court highlighted that the capacity to earn and pay alimony applies to both spouses.

It acknowledged the wife’s resignation from IBM but emphasized her continuous employment at renowned institutions, indicating her ability to earn. The court criticized the trial court for not considering the wife’s Income Tax returns to assess her earning capacity.

The court also noted the petitioner’s resignation from Cognizant, acknowledged after the hearing, and criticized the trial court for not allowing the formal submission of post-hearing documents.

Court’s Decision: Considering these factors, the court set aside the impugned order and remanded the case to the trial court for re-adjudication. It directed both parties to produce additional evidence for a comprehensive assessment of the alimony matter. The court emphasized that the ongoing criminal cases against the petitioner should not influence alimony proceedings.

Conclusion: The Nirmalya Bhattacharya vs Smt. Bachendri Ray case serves as a reminder of the nuanced considerations in alimony disputes. The court’s decision to reassess the matter underscores the importance of a thorough examination of evidence and a fair opportunity for both parties to present their cases.

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