Concealment of income & assets in matrimonial dispute cases- How can investigation aid court trial?
Posted on Oct 07, 2022

What does the law say?

Indian law provides different provisions for maintenance in matrimonial disputes such as section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, section 24 and 25 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, section 36 to 38 of Divorce Act, 1869, section 39 to 41 of Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1396. The purpose of providing this right to the wife is to save her from getting deprived of the living standard and comfort she had during the cohabitation with her husband and making sure that the husband should fulfil his duties to maintain his wife and children.

It is a well known fact that these provisions are often used for harassing one or the other party, and in many cases the quantum of the amount awarded as maintenance is inadequate. Professional investigative services like asset trace and financial due diligence can provide the aggrieved party with useful evidence in their fight for getting justice. 

Hiding of Source of Income By Husband and Wife

The quantum of maintenance is not fixed, it can vary on the basis of lifestyle of the parties, their needs, level of education of children, as well as their income, etc. Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, in Rajnesh Vs. Neha & Another, (2021) 2 SCC 324, provides guidelines in cases of maintenance one of which is the production of an affidavit disclosing all the assets and liabilities. Despite the guidelines set by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, it is seen that parties generally file affidavits with contrary averments, and the guidelines have thus largely failed in achieving their goal completely.

In cases of dispute on the contents of the said affidavit, the court can allow the opposite party to produce relevant documents in the court. A wife can show the true income of her husband and can get appropriate maintenance and a husband can prove that his wife is earning sufficient thus not entitled for any maintenance. 

How can professional Investigative Services aid court trial?

Asset trace and financial investigation are the investigative methodologies which can verify and ascertain the financial profile of the target spouse. Through open source intelligence, comprehensive research of public records, subscribed databases, media and social media checks, discreet enquiries through reliable sources, and field verifications, it is possible to obtain direct as well as anecdotal information on the income and assets held by the target spouse and their family. In addition, it is possible to extract details of employment, assets and liabilities, loans and mortgages, history of fraud or default etc. , thus making a case for the trial in the court of law through substantiating evidence.