The word maintenance refers that financial support provided for a person’s living expenses.
What Maintenance Means?
Maintenance is the support that husband owes towards his wife to pay her financially. When wife is not financially stable after the divorce as well as during the tide was proceeding. Wife is entitled to fulfill her necessities like food clothing shelter and many more. Maintenance is provided because wife may get comfortable and stable circumstances to live her lifestyle better after marriage. There is no fix amount of maintenance.
Who Can Claim Maintenance?
- The wife
- Elderly Parents
- Other dependent Person
In circumstances of divorce the wife gets full right to ask maintenance from her husband but only when she is financially weak.
Claimed maintenance to pay by husband to his wife depends on certain circumstances.
- The earning of wife or financial conditions of wife.
- The earning and properties of the husband.
- The expenses of the husband on his own personal.
- The expenses borne by him from his dependents.
There are mainly two types of Maintenance under Hindu law.
1) Interim Maintenance
2) Permanent Maintenance
When the wife file petition for her maintenance then Court may award her interim maintenance. The husband must have to pay the maintenance. Interim maintenance is awarded by Court if wife literally has no source of income to maintain herself. The amount of maintenance depends on the discretion of Court that means not pre-decided that how much maintenance should be provided but the amount of maintenance should fulfill all the necessity of wife to maintain herself.
And the Interim maintenance is provided to wife till the date of claim during the processing of diverse and after the divorce too.
In case of divorce the husband uses to pay his wife for her maintenance that is known as Permanent Maintenance. The court can order to husband to pay the maintenance to his wife and the amount of maintenance is determined and decided through the petition of maintenance. The husband is bound to pay amount monthly.
However if there are any change in the circumstances of wife, she may not be eligible for maintenance. Without any effect on right to claim maintenance, a wife has right to live separate from her husband.
Circumstances where wife can live separately from her husband.
- When husband has extra marital affair.
- Husband behavior is cruel and aggressive toward the wife.
- The husband has abandoned the wife without any reasonable cause.
- Religion conversion
When wife is not entitled to claim maintenance.
- When the wife gets religion conversion from Hindu to other religion.
- When wife has extra physical relationship with another man or she is guilty of adultery.
- When the wife remarried after the divorce.
How is the amount of maintenance fixed?
The factors which are under the consideration before fixing the maintenance amount are:
- Whether wife need the maintenance amount.
- The position and status of the husband and the wife.
- Justified reasons on living the wife separately.
- The total property and income of individuals separately, both of husband and wife.
- The expenses of their own personal and individual of husband and wife.
Husband’s right to get maintenance from his Wife.
Under Hindu marriage Act, 1955 husband also have right to claim maintenance from his wife.
Under Sec. 24 of the Hindu husband can get maintenance pendente lite and expenses of proceedings.
Under Sec. 25 Husband has the right to get permanent alimony and maintenance.
Sec. 24 and Sec. 25 of Hindu maintenance confer the law about deserving wife or husband has the right to claim maintenance from other spouse.
But, Husband who is capable to earn but remains idle or incapacitates himself voluntarily cannot get maintenance.
In case Nivya V. M v. Shivaprasad (2017).
by high court of Kerala, it was held that if a husband is provided maintenance even the absence of incapacity for him to work it will promote idleness. & Unless husband can establish that he is permanently disabled from getting any income he cannot seek maintenance from the wife.
The Bombay High Court in Smt Kanchan v Kamalendra (AIR 1992) held that in the absence of any handicap or impediment to earn, granting such able-bodied person equipped with skill would promote idleness.
How the Maintenance is claimed under the Hindu law.
In family court, a wife is required to file a Maintenance Petition, which has appropriate jurisdiction to deal with the matters. The maintenance petition is filled with required necessary documentary.
Required documents: Affidavit and Income Relating Documents.
The Hindu Maintenance law was enacted in India in 1956, as part of Hindu code bills.
The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 under section 18 defined about The Maintenance of the Hindu Wife, and in The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 under section 24 defines Maintenance Pendent-Tile and Expanses of Proceedings & section 25 defines Permanent Alimony and Maintenance.
In Hindu law the right of maintenance is provided to help in fulfilling the necessities of life which is food, clothing, and shelter.
1) Lawmann’s Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 – Bare Act 2020.
2) Website: Maintenance Act, 1956 pdf as visited on 5 March 2021.