"No set formula can be laid for fixing the amount of maintenance. It has, in the very nature of things, to depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. Some scope for leverage can, however, be always there. The court has to consider the status of the parties, their respective needs, the capacity of the husband to pay having regard to his reasonable expenses for his own maintenance and of those he is obliged under the law and statutory but involuntary payments or deductions. The amount of maintenance fixed for the wife should be such as she can live in reasonable comfort considering her status and the mode of life she was used to when she lived with her husband and also that she does not feel handicapped in the prosecution of her case. At the same time, the amount so fixed cannot be excessive or extortionate."
"In other words the court must first arrive at the net disposable income of the Husband or the dominant earning spouse. If the other spouse is also working these earnings must be kept in mind. This would constitute the Family Resource Cake which would then be cut up and distributed amongst the members of the family. The apportionment of the cake must be in consonance with the financial requirements of the family members, which is exactly what happens when the spouses are one homogeneous unit. Ms. Geeta Luthra, learned counsel for the Respondent had fervently contended that normally 1/5th of the disposable income is allowed to the Wife. She has not shown any authority or precedent for this proposition and the only source or foundation for it may be traceable to Section 36 of the Indian Divorce Act, 1869. This archaic statute mercifully does not apply to the parties before the Court, and is a vestige of a bygone era where the wife/woman was considered inferior to the husband as somewhat akin to his chattels. The law has advanced appreciably, and for the better. In the face of Legislatures reluctant to bring about any change over fifty years ago the Courts held that the deserted wife was entitled to an equal division of matrimonial assets. I would be extremely loath to restrict maintenance to 1/5th of the Husband's income where this would be insufficient for the Wife to live in a manner commensurative with her Husband's status or similar to the lifestyle enjoyed by her before the marital severance. In my view, a satisfactory approach would be to divide the Family Resource Cake in two portions to the Husband since he has to incur extra expenses in the course of making his earning, and one share each to other members."