Petitioner cannot escape liability to pay ‘requisite travelling expenditure’ even if respondent travels by air

Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Raghvendra S. Chauhan, J. decided a writ petition filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution, wherein the Court upheld the order of the Family Court whereby the petitioner was to pay an amount of Rs. 32,114 as travelling expenses to the respondent.

The parties were husband and wife. The petitioner filed a divorce petition against the respondent on the ground of cruelty and desertion. The petition was filed in Bangalore, Karnataka, while the respondent was living in Meerut, U.P. The respondent filed a transfer petition before the Family Court which was dismissed while directing the petitioner to pay the above-mentioned amount as traveling expenditure to the respondent. This order was challenged by the petitioner contending that the respondent was only a housewife and she was free to travel via train and there was no need for her to travel via flight. He was ready to pay the fare for train tickets as against the ‘requisite travelling expenditure’.

The Court condemned, in strong words, the argument made on behalf of the petitioner as misplaced an untenable. Rejecting the contention of the petitioner that the housewife was free to travel by train, the Court said that, “…said plea terms the housewife as “free”. Such a contention merely shows the lack of understanding about the work being carried out by “the housewife.” It also reveals the lack of gender justice, where a large number of persons continue to carry a misnomer that a housewife is “free”. Needless to say, a housewife is as busy as a professional person. After all, she is responsible for looking after the members of the family, and for running the house.” Further, the term ‘requisite expenditure’ is not limited to merely train travel. It is not for the petitioner to decide as to what mode of transportation the respondent should take in order to attend the hearing. If the respondent decides to travel by air, and not by train, even then the petitioner cannot escape his liability to pay the requisite travelling expenditure. Therefore, the petition was dismissed, upholding the order impugned herein. [Gaurav Raj Jain v. Shweta Jain,2018 SCC OnLine Kar 639, order dated 26-04-2018]

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