Concept Of Maintenance
Maintenance laws have been enacted as a measure of social justice to ensure
protective discrimination against weak and abandon women and to prevent vagrancy
by compelling a person to provide support to helpless parents, children and
wife. Generally in personal laws husband is liable to maintain his helpless
family regardless of fact that he has sufficient means to maintain them or not.
Under Muslim personal law, the wife has absolute right to claim maintenance and
such maintenance is debt on the husband whereas in Hindu Personal laws wife has
to maintain her husband if the husband has no sufficient means or if the husband
is incapable of earning his livings.
In order to ensure speedy and effective
remedy, the provision of maintenance is also mentioned in the Special Marriage
Act, 1954, Section 125 of the CrPC 1973; and the Protection of Women from
Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Provisions under these secular legislations are
applicable to all people belonging to any religions. Under CrPC husband has no
absolute liability to pay maintenance to support his wife if the wife is having
sufficient means to earn her living.
Relief of Maintenance is an ancillary
relief and the husband is obliged to maintain his wife not merely during the
period she remains her wife but also after the dissolution of marriage as long
as she does not marry. In many cases it is observed that there is a delay in
adjudication of maintenance due to which basic human rights of the claimant got
infringed, also it becomes difficult for her to maintain herself during the
Also, it was observed that under many cases spouse never
discloses their actual status and actual financial positions because of which
Courts have to decide the amount of relief through rough estimations. Generally,
family Courts adopt a less formal procedure to establish the true income of the
spouse. Though Family Court is empowered under Section 10 of the Family Court
Act to frame its own laws it should not act as an umpire to decide who won and
who lose Court is under obligation to discover the truth and to administer
Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Rajnesh v. Neha
laid down some special
guidelines for proper assessment of properties of both the parties and for
calculating the quantum of maintenance.
Criminal Appeal No. 730 Of 2020 - [Supreme Court Of India] -
Equivalent citations: Criminal Appeal No. 730 OF 2020
(Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 9503 of
R. Subhash Reddy
Respondent: Neha and Anr -
Date of Judgment: 4th November 2020
The legal principles or the law involved in this case are:
- Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure.
- Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
- Special Relief Act, 1954.
- In this case, the wife left her matrimonial home after the birth of the
son in 2013. Thereafter she filed an application for interim maintenance
under section 125 of CrPC.
- The Family Court in 2015 ordered the husband to provide interim
maintenance of Rs.15, 000 per month to wife and Rs.5, 000 per month to son
from 01.09.2013 to 31.08.2015.
- The Appellant-husband challenged the Order of the Family Court and filed
a writ petition before the Bombay High Court, Nagpur Bench. That petition
was dismissed by High Court in 2018
- Then he filed an appeal in Supreme Court to impugn the Order dated
The Court directed the Appellant to pay the entire arrears towards interim
maintenance to the wife and the son. But appellant failed to do so. He further
contended that he is unemployed and has no source of income and has no property,
moreover for payment of maintenance of her wife he had to take a loan from his
The wife opposed the contentions made by the husband, she submitted that
he had invested in real estate projects and he is trying to conceal facts also
he had wrongful possession of her Stridhan. Upon which it was contended that the
family Court decided the maintenance amount on the basis of the income tax
report of 2006. They both had issues regarding the amount of maintenance as the
case was pending in the court for seven years and from that period they faced
lots of ups and downs in their lives.
The court observed that the main aim of enacting provisions related to
maintenance to prevent immorality and ameliorate the economic condition of women
and children somewhere remained unfulfilled in this case due to various reasons:
Overlapping JudgementsRelief of maintenance can be claimed through various enactments like the
Domestic Violence Act, Special Marriage Act 1954, CrPC etc. but the nature and
the objective of these acts are different and if a person tries to claim relief
simultaneously under different acts then there would be the multiplicity of
proceedings and conflicting orders which would have the inevitable effect of
Quantum of MaintenanceThere is no specific provision laid down in any of the statutes for deciding the
accurate maintenance amount. It is generally said that The court should take
several factors into consideration while deciding the quantum of maintenance
like the income of both the spouse, reasonable wants of the claimant and conduct
of applicant and non-applicant but spouse tries to mislead the court by not
showing the true income for maintenance. These inappropriate disclosures of true
income of both the parties create difficultly for family Courts to grant
maintenance and because of which it becomes difficult for the claimant to get
essentials for survival not only after the judgement but also during the
pendency of judgement.
Enforcement of Orders of MaintenanceIf maintenance is not paid timely, it defeats the very object of the relief.
Execution petitions remain pending for months. Also, time for granting
maintenance during the pendency of proceeding is not specified due to which
there is a significant delay in disposal of the applications for interim
maintenance for years. Due to this spouse willfully disobeys the orders passed
by the Court.
Guidelines Issued By Supreme Court
Supreme Court has framed various guidelines on the basis of the abovementioned
observations for securing the ends of justice and for proper enforcement of
orders of maintenance. These guidelines are:
- Both the parties shall file an Affidavit for disclosure of Assets and
liabilities before claiming maintenance. If any kind of misrepresentation is
done then the wrongdoer will be held liable for the Contempt of the Court and
the Court may consider the initiation of proceeding u/S. 340 of CrPC.
- Court enunciated that every party except those who belong to the Economically
Weaker Section, or are casual labours or are living below the poverty line shall
file an Affidavit for claiming maintenance. An affidavit filed by parties
belonging to the urban area will be totally different from the parties belonging
to rural or tribal areas.
Essential Ingredients In Affidavit
- The Affidavit must contain every personal detail along with details
related to the nature of employment, earning, expenditure, the standard of
- The Deponent must disclose the list of family members who are dependent
family along with their medical reports, Details of Children of the parties,
Assets (movable and immovable) owned including investments made and
liabilities of the Deponent.
- Parties have to submit documentary evidence whether in oral or written
form before the concerned Court for fixing the alimony payable to the
spouse. Duration of marriage should also be disclosed for determining the
permanent alimony of the spouse.
- All the details of legal proceedings and the information related to
maintenance which was awarded to the claimant in the previously constituted
proceeding must be disclosed so that court can decide the quantum of
maintenance in a more authentic way. Along with all these details, other
essential details can be asked by Court for determining alimony.
The affidavit must be submitted in the prescribed format as defined by Court.
Though the Court has the discretion to modify the format and can ask for
additional details as per the requirements for clarity and authenticity.
Guidelines Regarding Enforcement Of Maintenance Order
Affidavit of Disclosure of assets and liabilities shall be filed by the parties
in both maintenance and pending proceedings before the Concerned Court as the
case may be.
- It is mandatory for the claimant to file a concise application
accompanied by an Affidavit of disclosure of assets and the respondent have
to file an affidavit along with the reply within a maximum period of 4
weeks. Court has the right to strike off the defence of the respondent after giving two
opportunities to him to submit an affidavit of disclosure of assets along with a
reply provided that The court must find it just and fair to strike off such a
- The court may examine the affidavit submitted by parties under Order X
of CPC if any dispute arises with respect to the declaration made in the
affidavit. If Court thinks fit it may invoke Section 106 of Evidence Act,
1872 for getting clarity about the income, assets and liabilities of the
- If there is any change in the financial status of any party or some new
information turn up during the course of proceeding then such information
must be submitted in court during final determination in the form of a
- The Concerned Court shall decide alimony for Interim maintenance within
the period of six months after such Affidavit is filed before the Court.
Maintenance shall be awarded from the date of filing an application for
maintenance. Hon'ble Court directed that the order or decree of maintenance may
be enforced like a decree of a civil court, more particularly as per Sections
51, 55, 58, 60 read with Order XXI of CPC.
The provision of maintenance aims at empowering the destitute and achieving
social justice or equality and dignity of the individual...The law regulates
relationships between people. It reflects the values of society.
detailed guidelines issued by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the aforementioned
case will ensure speedy relief but there is no uniformity in the embodiment of
affidavit some weaker sections are not mandated to file an affidavit.
Generally, it is observed that the women of weaker sections remain deprived of
their rights and more inappropriate disclosure of the true financial position of
the spouse is observed in these cases. For proper enforcement of the
maintenance laws, it is suggested to make special provisions for the deprived
section of the society. The spouse who has to provide maintenance to the
claimant must file the affidavit in order to ensure justice and equality of
- Bhagwan Dutt v. Kamla Devi, (1975) 2 SCC 386
- Bhuwan Mohan Singh v. Meena AIR 2014 SC 2875
- Mohanlal Shamji v. Union of India AIR 1991 SC 1346
- Radhika v. Vineet Rungta 110 (2004) DLT 111.
- Badshah v. Urmila Badshah Godse and Anr (2014) 1 SCC 188.
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Khyati Relan
Authentication No: AP33842447008-29-042