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Is The Wife Entitled To Maintenance From Her Husband After Divorce? Section 125 Crpc

It is the duty of every person to maintain his wife, children, and aged parents, who are not able to live on their own. Section 125 of Criminal Procedure deals with the order of maintenance of wives, children, and parents.

In the case of Rohtash Singh v. Ramendri, 2000 (3) SCC 180, the Supreme Court dealt with the question of whether a wife who has deserted her husband is entitled to maintenance under section 125 of Criminal Procedure?

The Supreme Court observed that though the marital relations came to an end by the divorce granted by the Family Court under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, the respondent continues to be "wife" within the meaning of Section 125 Criminal Procedure. On account of Explanation (b) to Sub-section (1) which provides as under:

Under this provision, "wife" also includes a woman who has been divorced by/from husband and has not remarried."

The Court held that this plea, as we have already indicated above, cannot be accepted as a woman has two distinct rights for maintenance.
  1. As a wife, she is entitled to maintenance unless she suffers from any of the disabilities indicated in Section 125(4).

  2. As a divorced woman, she is again entitled to claim maintenance from the person of whom she was once the wife.
A woman after divorce becomes destitute. If she cannot maintain herself or remains unmarried, the man who was, once, her husband continues to be under a statutory duty and obligation to provide maintenance to her.

However, it was held that the wife would be entitled to maintenance only from the date of the divorce decree, and not from the date of filing of an application under Section 125 as held by the Additional Sessions Judge.

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