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This article is written by Gourish Goyal, student of ICFAI Law School, Hyderabad, Telangana.

Abstract

Now first of all here the question arises What is maintenance? Under Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, maintenance is defined as ‘provision for food, clothing, residence, education and medical attendance and treatment and in case of an unmarried daughter also the reasonable expenses and incident to her marriage’. Definition of Maintenance under Hindu Law is Maintenance includes not only food, cloth and residence, but also the things necessary for the comfort and status in which the person entitled is reasonably expected to live. 

Hindu Law recognizes that a Hindu has a personal obligation to maintain certain near relations, such as wife, children and aged parents and the one who takes another’s property has an obligation to maintain the latter’s dependents. In Hindu Law, maintenance is basically divided into three categories Firstly, personal obligations to maintain certain relations, Secondly, obligation of a person to maintain the dependants of another whose property has devolved on him and thirdly Obligation of the joint family to maintain its members. 

From the above, we can say that obligation is not only to maintain the wife but also the other members of the family, which include children and parents. Further, we will discuss this in depth.

Hindu Law, says that the wife has an absolute right to claim maintenance from her husband. But she loses her right if she deviates from the path of chastity. Right to maintenance not only to the wife and dependent children but also to indigent parents and divorced wives. 

This paper also focuses on the Maintenance of joint family, children, Quantum of maintenance and also the rules of maintenance under criminal laws. 

Introduction

In modern Hindu society, wives are still economically dependent on their husbands. Wife has the right to get all the necessities from the husband which include food, clothing, medical, education and shelter, even if the wife is an earning member in the house. Husband’s obligation exists even after the dissolution of marriage. The obligation of the husband to maintain his wife does not arise out of any contract, but out of the marriage which means the obligation of the husband to maintain his wife begins with marriage. 

Moreover, maintenance can be claimed both under section 125 of the Code of Criminal procedure, 1973 and personal laws i.e. under Section 18 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 which Defines maintenance as “provision for food, clothing, residence, education and medical attendance and treatment.” And it’s the natural duty of a man – Right to maintain not only to the wife and dependent children but also to indigent parents and divorced wives. 

Maintenance can be claimed under any personal laws of people following different faiths/religion and proceedings under such personal laws are civil in nature. Proceedings initiated under Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure differ from that of personal laws, and it is applicable to everyone regardless of caste, creed or religion. The said provision has been enacted to prevent crime by compelling those who can provide support to those who are unable to support themselves and have a moral claim of support. Maintenance can be claimed either during the pendency of proceedings or during the final stage. 

One more important thing the case is filed under Hindu Marriage Act or Hindu Adoption or Maintenance Act, but most of the times the Punishment is given under Code of Criminal Procedure or Indian Penal Code as Hindu Acts does not contain the punishment part. And that part you will understand by reading the judgments of the cases and also through my paper.

Below it is discussed who can claim maintenance under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance act:

A wife’s right to maintenance may arise in the following three situations:

  • When the wife lives with her husband,
  • When the wife lives separate from her husband, (not under a decree of the court) and
  • When the wife lives under judicial separation (under a decree of the court) or when the marriage is dissolved. 

Children’s right to maintenance arises under:

  • The Child may be either legitimate or illegitimate.
  • Both parents of children should maintain the child until the age of majority. 

Aged parents right of maintenance describes as:

  • Under Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act it defines as such, that obligation to maintain his or her aged or infirm parent or daughter who is unmarried as the case may if they are unable to maintain themselves out of their earnings or other property. 

Maintenance of widowed daughter in law arises under two situations:

  1. Entitled to be maintained after the death of the husband by father in law from the estate of her husband or her father or mother or her son or daughter
  2. If daughter in law has none of the above remedies, then obligation arises as to remarriage of the daughter in law.

All the above four major points will be discussed further in detail.

Types of Maintenance

  1. Interim Maintenance – In case Purusottam Mahakud v. Smt Annapurna Mahakud, the above case judgment was given by Judge C Pal, who held that the right to claim interim maintenance in a civil suit is a substantive right under Section 10 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act. Since no form is prescribed to enforce the said right civil court in the exercise of its inherent power can grant interim maintenance.
  2. Maintenance Pendente Lite – After considering the status of the husband the wife should be awarded maintenance pendent lite, even though there is no separate provision in the Act for grant of maintenance pendente lite. The obligation to maintain the wife remains on the husband even though the wife might be living separately.

In Poonam Bhardwaj case, which was decided by the judge named Pratibha Rani that wife filed for the maintenance on the ground of cruelty and desertion. Facts were as such that Family Court awarded maintenance to the tune of Rs. 25000/- to the wife/applicant apart from Rs 25000/- towards legal expenses.

Both the parties do not aggrieve to the decision of the court which resulted in the filing of MAT. APP. (F.C.) 61/2016. Now the court after listening to all the relevant facts of the case held that by taking into account the lifestyle enjoyed by the parties after their marriage in the USA or even after shifting to India, the investments being made by them and the business they are running as on date separately, the income disclosed by them in their income tax return has rightly not been ‘swallowed’ by the learned Judge, Family Court. He has taken a conservative view of the situation where though enjoying a lavish lifestyle raising dispute over maintenance of Rs25000/- per month.

So hereby court does not find any reason to interfere with the impugned order granting maintenance of Rs 25000/- per month to the wife by the Family Court.

There are various reasons for maintenance under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act

  • Maintenance as a Personal Obligation

When wife lives with husband – It is the imperative duty of the wife to live with her husband and perform all conjugal duties. And it’s the husband obligation to maintain his wife. The wife cannot refuse maintenance from her husband on the basis of his financial conditions. Except for the husband, no other member of the family has any personal obligation to maintain her. 

The husband obligation to maintain her comes to an end only when she leaves him without any good cause or without his consent. Before 1956, it was a settled law that an unchaste wife who continues to live with her husband or who left her husband but subsequently repented, performed expiatory rites and returned to live with her husband was entitled to maintenance. The modern Hindu law lays down that a Hindu wife is entitled to be maintained by her husband during her lifetime.

Sec. 18 (3) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act lays down that “a Hindu wife shall not be entitled to separate residence and maintenance from her husband if she is unchaste or ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion.”

Section 18 (2) When the wife lives apart – A wife who lives apart with the consent of the husband is entitled to maintenance. The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act lays down the grounds on which a wife may live separate and claim maintenance. These are:

Desertion – Sec. 18 (2) (a): In Suvarna v. Ratnakar case the following definition was given by the judge that Abandoning her without reasonable cause and without her consent or against her wish or on the ground of willful neglect by the husband, the wife can live separately and claim maintenance.

Cruelty – Sec. 18 (2) (b): In Gurpreet Kaur case, the husband by his conduct made it evidently clear that she was not wanted in the house and her presence was resented by him, it was held that this amounted to cruelty and justified wife’s living separate. 

The burden of proof that the husband treated her with cruelty is on the wife.

Leprosy – Sec. 18 (2) (c): Maintenance can be claimed from the husband only if he is suffering from a virulent form of leprosy. It may exist before the marriage or it may have come into existence shortly before the claim is made.

Leprosy is one of the oldest diseases but remains misunderstood in all its aspects including its etiology, causation, means of transmission and curability. According to the Law Commission Report from 2005 to 2014, the National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) has recorded a rate of 1.25 to 1.35 lakh new cases every year.

Another wife is living – Sec. 18 (2) (d): wife can claim separate residence and maintenance provided one more wife is living at the time when the claim is made. It is also immaterial that the wife had consented to the second marriage of the husband. A wife is entitled to maintenance and separate residence under this clause where the other wife is alive, and it is not necessary that the latte should have been or is living with the husband. 

In Kulwant case it is held that the petitioner has cohabited with the respondent, so the wife is entitled to interim maintenance under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act. It is also necessary that both the marriages of the husband are valid.

Keeps a concubine – Sec. 18 (2) (e): “If he keeps a concubine in the same house in which his wife is living or habitually resides with a concubine elsewhere.” “Keeping a concubine” or “living with a concubine” are extreme forms of “living in adultery”. In either case the wife is entitled to live separately and claim maintenance from her husband.

Basically, in other words, a woman who cohabits with a man she is not legally married. In present scenario adultery is no more a crime, struck down by Supreme Court bench headed by former Chief Justice of India Deepak Mishra.

Conversion – Sec. 18 (2) (f): “if he has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion”. 

The punishment for the above act is prescribed under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code.

There is famous case named as Sarla Mudgal which is decided on 10th may 1995 by the bench consisting of Justice Kuldeep Singh and Justice R M Sahai in this the Supreme Court case after discussing all the issues and facts the court held that second marriage would be invalid unless and until the first marriage is dissolved by decree under the Hindu Marriage Act. According to the factual matrix, the husband has converted himself to the Muslim religion from Hindu Religion and observed polygamy. There is no punishment prescribed for such act either under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act nor under the Hindu Marriage Act. But the court in the interpretation of section 494 of the Indian penal Code held that such marriages are invalid as it does not serve the purpose behind the enactment.

Any other justifiable cause – Sec. 18 (2) (g): The conduct of the husband should be such that, in the opinion of the court, the wife has “grave and weighty” or “grave and convincing” reason for withdrawing from the society of the husband, and it would amount to the justifiable cause. The court may refuse husband petition for restitution of conjugal rights will be covered under this clause entitling a wife to claim separate residence and maintenance from the husband. If the husband refuses to comply with a decree of restitution, the wife can claim maintenance under s. 18(2). Mere drinking habit of the husband is not a sufficient ground for separate residence and maintenance said in the Lalit Joshi case which was decided by the bench consisting of judge S Ravindra Bhatt and Dinesh Mehta.

18(3) – Forfeiture of the claim of maintenance – A wife entitled to separate residence and maintenance may forfeit her claim in the following three cases:

  1. An unchaste wife has no right to claim separate residence and maintenance.
  2. A wife who has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion has no right to claim maintenance.
  3. The wife who had resumed cohabitation with her husband forfeits her claim for separate residence and maintenance because the pre-condition of the claim is that the wife is living separately from her husband, and if wife cohabits with the husband, the wife cannot continue to claim maintenance. But in Gurpreet Kaur case, it was said by the bench consisting of Judge Shabihul and Leo Kumar Singh the court said that just because the wife had sexual intercourse with her husband, while she continued to live separate from her husband, may not extinguish the decree for separate maintenance and residence. 

arbitration

  • Maintenance of widowed daughter-in-law

Under Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act defines maintenance of widowed daughter-in-law as an obligation of the joint family to maintain the wives and widows of coparceners. A widowed daughter in law can claim maintenance against the joint family property. The claim is enforceable against the karta so long as the daughter in law has a right to claim maintenance against the coparcenary property in the hands of the father in law. But father has no obligation to maintain a widowed daughter. On the death of the father, the moral obligation became a legal obligation against the persons who inherited the property of the father.

In Raj Kishore Mishra v. Smt. Meena Mishra, was decided by the bench consisting of judge D Trivedi and S Mohapatra, it was held that the obligation of father-in-law shall not be enforceable if he has no means to maintain his daughter-in-law from any coparcenary property in his possession out of which the daughter-in-law has not obtained any share.

The object of this section is to make it clear that the widowed daughter-in-law can claim maintenance from her father-in-law only where she is unable to maintain herself out of her own property or from the estate of her husband, father, mother, son or daughter. It is also provided that the father-in-law except in cases where there is some ancestral property in his possession from which the daughter-in-law has not obtained any share. 

  • Maintenance of children

An obligation to maintain one’s children is a personal obligation and arises out of the personal relationship of parent and child. What earlier used to happen is only father alone has the obligation to maintain the legitimate son. The modern Hindu Law imposed the obligation on both the parents and in respect of both legitimate and illegitimate children. 

In case of T Vimala and Others v. Ramakrishnan “Eligibility of Children to Claim maintenance” was discussed it was held that children who become major and do not suffer any kind of disability (mental or physical) can claim maintenance from their fathers. Children can also claim for educational expenses under section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

The above statement was held by the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court taking note of section 20 of Hindu Maintenance and Adoption Act. 

Actually the facts are as such that On 12 September 2012, the judicial magistrate court awarded maintenance of Rs 1500 to the wife and maintenance of Rs 1500 and 2000 to both the daughters.

Challenging the above decision of judicial magistrate court, the man went to the principal session judge (PSJ), who not only set aside the entire amount awarded to the first daughter as she crossed 18 years of age but also the educational expenses awarded to the second daughter. 

The claimant filed a revision petition against the order of the principal session judge.

Now Justice P Devadass of the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court who passed the said order, “No doubt, section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code is not happily worded since it has prescribed certain riders for a daughter or son who has attained majority to claim maintenance from the father. The most important point before giving maintenance should be kept in mind is to establish that they are under physical disability or they are suffering from an injury. 

In today’s world, the reality is that the youth of our nation after attaining the age of majority still dependent on their parents, as of an increase in studies criteria and pattern. This is reality. The court should interpret the law.”

He also said, “In a case the Supreme Court to advance the scheme of social justice incorporated in Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure maintained the maintenance granted to a daughter who attained the majority and did not suffer any disability for incorporating section 20 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act.”

  • Maintenance of aged parents

Under Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act maintenance of aged parents it defines as such, that obligation to maintain his or her aged or infirm parent or daughter who is unmarried as the case may if they are unable to maintain themselves out of their earnings or other property. 

In case of Ramesh Rege v. Gauri Rege which was decided by the bench consisting of A.S. Oka and A.P. Bhangale, it was held that an unmarried daughter of a Hindu father is entitled to receive maintenance from her estranged father, even if she is not an Indian citizen and is residing in a foreign country. In the present, the respondent daughter had filed a petition in the family court for monthly maintenance and a place of residence from her father. The Family Court had ruled in her favour and the father had challenged the Family Court order in the High Court.

But his father told that her estranged daughter had attained the age of majority and was neither a citizen of India. The court rejected the contention and held that the applicability of Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 does not depend upon the nationality of the child or the domicile of the child. If both the parents of the child are either Hindu or Buddhist or Jain or Sikh by religion, the said act becomes applicable to such children. 

  • Maintenance of Dependents

Section 21 and 22It creates new rights of certain persons, called dependants. Dependents are relatives of deceased Hindu and they claim maintenance against the property of the deceased in the hands of heirs. The term heir includes all those persons on whom the estate of the deceased devolves. The right of dependants exists against property and not against the heirs personally. It does not arise during the lifetime of the person, they are termed dependents only after his or her death.

Who are Dependents?

According To Section 21, the following persons are dependents of a Hindu, male or female:

  1. The father,
  2. The mother,
  3. The widow,
  4. The minor legitimate son,
  5. The minor illegitimate son,
  6. The minor legitimate unmarried daughter,
  7. The minor illegitimate unmarried daughter,
  8. The widow daughter,
  9. The son’s widow,
  10. The grandson’s widow,
  11. The son’s unmarried daughter,
  12. The grandson’s unmarried daughter,
  13. Son’s son’s minor son.

Parents – The parents of a Hindu have a right to maintenance against the property of their daughter or son inherited by any person. The mother is a Class I heir and the father is in category I of Cass II heirs of a Hindu Male. The father is in Class II of the heirs of a Hindu male, he will not take a property in the presence of the mother or any other Class I heir. It may happen that the mother may be excluded by the will of the deceased. When parents do not get a share in the property of their son or daughter, whosoever gets it makes it subject to their right of maintenance. 

The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act which says that if the parents have independent means of maintenance, the heir has no obligation to maintain them. Thus the existence of independent means – maintenance on part of the mother or father will affect the quantum of maintenance and not their right to claim maintenance.

Widows – under the old Hindu Law there was a controversy whether the widow was entitled to maintenance only if she resided with her husband’s family. The controversy was set at rest by the Privy Council in Prithee Singh v. Raj Rani Koer. Their Lordships observed: “All that is required of her is that she is not to leave her husband house for improper or unchaste purposes, and she is entitled to her maintenance unless she is guilty of unchastity or other disreputable practices after she leaves that residence.” Under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, there is no duty on the widow dependent to reside with the relatives of her husband. Under modern law, even her unchastity is no bar to her claim of maintenance.

Daughters – under this head the following daughter are included. Unmarried daughter, legitimate or illegitimate daughter, widowed daughter, daughter of a predeceased son and daughter of a predeceased grandson. And a destitute widowed daughter can claim maintenance from her brother after the death of her father is she has not been able to get sufficient maintenance from the property of her deceased husband. 

The illegitimate daughter is not an heir of a Hindu male, though she is an heir in Entry I of the heirs to a Hindu female. An illegitimate daughter like a legitimate daughter will be entitled to maintenance only if she has inherited no share in the estate of the deceased. The granddaughter and the great granddaughter are entitled to maintenance only and to the extent that the former is unable to obtain maintenance from her father’s or mother’s estate and the latter from the estate of her father or mother or father’s or mother’s estate.

The claim of maintenance of all these daughters is not limited to their minority. It is limited to their maidenhood. As soon as the daughter is married, she forfeits her claim of maintenance. They will also not be entitled to maintenance if they cease to be Hindus.

  • Maintenance of the Members of the Joint Family

Maintenance of the members of the joint family is necessary. So long as the family remains joint, all its members have a right of maintenance against the joint family property. The persons who claim maintenance out of the joint family funds may be classified under the following three heads:

  1. Coparceners qualified as well as unqualified.
  2. Wives, widows, and unmarried daughters of the coparceners, and
  3. Other members of the family. Under this head are included:
  • Those male members who are not coparceners (just a male descendant beyond the fourth degree) and
  • Concubines and illegitimate children of the father.

The claim of maintenance of all the aforesaid persons is not dependant upon the age but upon the status: so long as a person, whatever be his age, is a member of the joint family, he can claim maintenance against the joint family property.

Coparceners

In a joint Hindu family, the right of maintenance of all the coparceners out of the joint family funds is an inherent right and an essential quality of the coparcenary. Mayne says those who would be entitled to share in the bulk of property are entitled to have all their necessary expenses paid out of its income. Every coparcener, from the head of the family to the junior most member, is entitled to maintenance. Obviously, the right of maintenance is dependent on the possession of joint family property. All coparceners are entitled to get all their legitimate expenses defrayed out of the joint family funds. This includes food, clothing, residence, education, medical care and marriage.

Misbehavior or excommunication of any coparcener does not, by itself, lead to the forfeiture of the claim of maintenance.

Wives, Widows and Unmarried Daughters

The wives and unmarried daughters of a coparcener, including that of the Karta, have a right of maintenance against the joint family property. The daughter has also have a right to have their marriage expenses defrayed out of the joint family funds.

A widow of a coparcener, including the widow of the Karta, is entitled to maintenance out of the joint family property. But the right of the widow to be maintained does not give her any interest in the joint family property. When a widow succeeded to her husband’s interest under the Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act, 1937 her claim to maintenance was not lost. Thus Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, does not affect the right. Similarly, a widowed mother is also entitled to maintenance and the fact that she got a share at partition, does not bar her claim of maintenance.

Other Members of the Family

In ancient times, the rule that all members of the joint family are entitled to maintenance, extended to slaves and servants of the family. Slaves and servants no longer have any right to maintenance. In the modern Hindu Law under this head fall those male descendants who are not coparceners and some other members of a joint family who, though have an inferior status, are, nonetheless, members of the joint family, such as concubine and the illegitimate sons. 

Quantum of maintenance

Maintenance covers not merely food, clothing and shelter, but also includes other necessities. The quantum and type of necessities covered within the scope of maintenance may vary, depending on the status, financial position and number of dependents, etc and is at the discretion of the court. Antecedent to passing an order under Section 125, the court does

take cognizance of the amount of maintenance already ordered under the personal law. The reasoning is based on the premise that the wife is entitled to live as per the standard and status of her husband.

In Rita Chowdhury v. Kalyan Chowdhury decided by the bench consisting of R. Banumathi and Mohan M. in this case the court held that there is no hard and fast rule that can be laid down for deciding the quantum of maintenance. The ability of the husband, the strata of the society to which the couple belong, the standard of living that the wife was used to at her husband’s residence. In the case of Dr. Kulbhushan Kunwar, the maintenance was fixed at 25 per cent of the income of the husband.

Maintenance for women in 2017

A woman can claim 25% of the former husband’s net salary as alimony, the Supreme Court has said, setting a benchmark for maintenance paid to women by former husbands after divorce. 

In an ongoing case of Calcutta High Court, Supreme Court took that case under his discretion, requesting that he pay Rs. 23000 to his offended wife as support. The man earned Rs.95527 a month, said the report.

However, in a relief to the petitioner, a bench of the apex court reduced the alimony amount from Rs23000 to Rs20000, in view of the fact that the petitioner had remarried and needed to provide for his new family as well. 

The Supreme Court bench said 25% of the husband’s net salary would be just and proper to be awarded as maintenance to the former wife. 

Critical analysis

After studying the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 brings a new view towards Hindu Law. As this paper talks about the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act not only talks about the maintenance of wife likewise Hindu Marriage Act, it also talks about maintenance to the children and aged parents, maintenance of widows, unmarried daughters, maintenance of the members of the joint family, widowed daughter-in-law. 

The latest amendment made under this act by Shri C.R. Patil, M.P – Amendment of Section 18 after sub section (3), the following sub-section shall be inserted, namely:

“(4) Notwithstanding anything in sub-section (1), where the husband is unable to provide maintenance to his Hindu wife on account of physical disability, mental disorder, disappearance or renunciation of the world by entering any religious order, the Hindu wife shall, except when the husband had received his share in the joint Hindu family property, be entitled to claim maintenance during her lifetime from the members of the Joint Hindu Family.”

There is a big role of judiciary and parliament behind it, who by giving tremendous judgments regarding the betterment of maintenance under Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956. Likewise in 2017, that woman can claim 25% of maintenance from the husband’s net salary as alimony. We know that act still contains patriarchal notions and gender biases. Although the act is called as one Secular Act, the theory of spiritual benefit has been reiterated in many decisions. So Hindu Adoption and Maintenance act still growing on. 

Law is a social mechanism to be used for the advancement of society. It should not be allowed to be a dead weight on the society. While interpreting ancient texts, the court must give them a liberal construction to further the interest of society. Our great commentators in the past bridged the gulf between the law as enunciated in the Hindu law texts and the advancing society by wisely interpreting the original texts in such a way as to bring them in harmony with the prevailing conditions. To an extent, that functions has now to be discharged by our superior Courts. In discharging that function, our courts have shown a great deal of attention or circumspection. Under modern conditions, legislative modification of laws is bound to be changed for the betterment of the society. Gradually and orderly or chronological development of aw can only be accomplished by judicial interpretation. The Supreme Court in that regard is recognized by Article 141 which is defined as the law or the correct interpretation of the law to be binding on lower courts only, not legislature. And also by Article 142 which grant broad powers to the SC to deliver complete justice in any case.

Even from the judiciary new unconventional and uninhibited approach to problems arising from the impact of radical changes in the outlook of the people and the impact of changing standards or value in all important spheres of human activity. A judge is very often helpless under such circumstances. He can interpret and expound the law and apply it as so interpreted and expounded judicially. Judiciary can’t make laws, but they can be struck down their precedents. But, if ever and when an appropriate occasion arises, a judge should not, hesitate to caste away old laws which somehow violating the norms or rights of an individual or society and find out whether the particular law in question is so certain or inflexible as to be incapable of being adopted to meet the demands of the changed or changing society. The Court must exercise utmost caution and restraint, if he finds this can be done within the ambit of his jurisdiction, function and duty as a judge he must go ahead, else he must leave it to the Legislature or to the component court if confronted with judicial precedents binding on him.

Conclusion

It is evident from the recent judicial decisions that the Indian courts have been progressively liberal in deciding cases pertaining to maintenance. Maintenance not only for the wife but for all which include maintenance of widowed daughter-in-law, maintenance of children and aged parents, maintenance of dependents or maintenance of joint family members. 

Maintenance can be claimed under any personal laws of people following different faiths/religion and proceedings under such personal laws are civil in nature. Proceedings initiated under Section 125 of Criminal Procedure Code differ from that of personal laws, and it is applicable to everyone regardless of caste, creed or religion. The said provision has been enacted to prevent crime by compelling those who can provide support to those who are unable to support themselves and have a moral claim of support. Maintenance can be claimed either during the pendency of proceedings or during the final stage. 

So, from all the above mentioned facts, laws and judgments given by the different bench of the Supreme Court and High Court and all other lower courts (Family Court), we can say that Indian Judiciary is working hard to provide better maintenance for all. Many changes were brought up by the judiciary for the betterment of the maintenance of wife living with husband, divorce wife and also for the children. Likewise in 2017 by passing an order that the divorced have a right to claim maintenance from her husband for up to 25% of his income. Before that, an amendment was made in 2015 with a view to providing that a Hindu wife shall be entitled to claim maintenance during her lifetime from members of the joint Hindu family of the husband in case of disappearance or disability (physical disability, mental disorder, disappearance or renunciation of the world by entering any religious order). And also the last but not the least judiciary brings the Quantum of maintenance into force. So maintenance is not only for wives but for all is all described above as per the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act.


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