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THE HINDU ADOPTIONS AND MAINTENANCE ACT, 1956

Title : THE HINDU ADOPTIONS AND MAINTENANCE ACT, 1956

Year : 1956



(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a Hindu wife, whether married before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be entitled to be maintained by her husband during her life time.

(2) A Hindu wife shall be entitled to live separately from her husband without forfeiting her claim to maintenance,-

(a) If he is guilty of desertion, that is to say, of abandoning her without reasonable cause and without her consent or against her wish, or of willfully neglecting her ;

(b) If he has treated her with such cruelty as to cause a reasonable apprehension in her mind that it will be harmful or injurious to live with her husband;

(c) If he is suffering from a virulent form of leprosy;

(d) If he has any other wife living;

(e) If he keeps a concubine in the same house in which his wife is living or habitually resides with a concubine else-where;

(f) If he has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion;

(g) If there is any other cause justifying her living separately,

(3) A Hindu wife shall not be entitled to separate residence and maintenance from her husband if she is unchaste or ceases to be a
Hindu by conversion to another religion.



(1) A Hindu wife, whether married before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be entitled to be maintained after the death of her husband by her father-in-law:

Provided and to the extent that she is unable to maintain herself out of her own earnings or other property or, where she has no property of her own, is unable to obtain maintenance-

(a) From the estate of her husband or her father or mother, or

(b) From her son or daughter, if any, or his or her estate.

(2) Any obligation under sub-section (1) shall not be enforceable if the father-in-law has not the means to do so from any mercenary property in his possession out of which the daughter-in-
law has not obtained any share, and any such obligation shall cease on the remarriage of the daughter-in-law.



(1) Subject to the provisions of this section a Hindu is bound, during his or her life- time, to maintain his or her legitimate or illegitimate children and his or her aged or infirm parents.

(2) A legitimate or illegitimate child may claim maintenance from his or her father or mother so long as the child is a minor.

(3) The obligation of a person to maintain his or her aged or infirm parent or a daughter who is unmarried extends in so far as the parent or the unmarried daughter, as the case may be, is unable to maintain himself or herself out of his or her own earnings or other property.

Explanation.-In this section "parent " includes a childless step-
mother.



For the purposes of this Chapter "dependents" mean the following relatives of the deceased:-

(i) His or her father;

(ii) His or her mother;

(iii) His widow, so long as she does not re-marry;

(iv) his or her son or the son of his per-deceased son or the son of a per-deceased son of his per-deceased son, so long, as he is a minor: provided and-to the extent that he is unable to obtain maintenance, in the case of a grandson from his fathers or mothers estate, and in the case of a great-grandson, from the estate of his father or mother or fathers father or fathers mother;

(v) His or her unmarried daughter, or the unmarried daughter of his per-deceased son or the unmarried daughter of a per-deceased son, of his per-deceased son, so long as she remains unmarried: provided and to the extent that she is unable to obtain maintenance, in the case of a granddaughter from her fathers or mothers estate and in the case of a great-grand-daughter from the estate of her father or mother or fathers father or fathers mother;

(vi) His widowed daughter: provided and to the extent that she is unable to obtain maintenance-

(a) From the estate of her husband ; or

(b) From her son or daughter if any, or his or her estate ; or

(c) From her father-in-law or his father or the estate of either of them ;

(vii) Any widow of his son or of a son of his predeceased son, so long as she does not re-marry: provided and to the extent that she is unable to obtain maintenance from her husbands estate, or from her son or daughter, if any, or his or her estate ; or in the case of a grandsons widow, also from her father-in-laws estate;

(viii) His or her minor illegitimate son, so long as he remains a minor;

(ix) His or her illegitimate daughter, so long as she remains unmarried.



(1)Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), the heirs of a deceased Hindu are bound to maintain the dependents of the deceased out of the estate inherited by them from the deceased.

(2) Where a dependent has not obtained, by testamentary or intestate succession, any share in the estate of a Hindu dying after the commencement of this Act, the dependent shall be entitled, subject to the provisions of this Act, to maintenance from those who take the estate.

(3) The liability of each of the persons who takes the estate shall be in proportion to the value of the share or part of the estate taken by him or her.

(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (2) or sub-section (3), no person who is himself or herself a dependent shall be liable to contribute to the maintenance of others, if he or she has obtained a share or part the value of which is, or would, if the liability to contribute were enforced, become less than what would be awarded to him or her by way of maintenance under this Act.



(1) It shall be in the discretion of the court to determine whether any, and if so what, maintenance shall be awarded under the provisions of this Act, and in doing so the court shall have due regard to the considerations set out in sub-section (2)
or sub-section (3), as the case may be, so far as they are applicable.

(2) In determining the amount of maintenance, if any, to be awarded to a wife, children or aged on infirm parents under this Act, regard shall be had to-

(a) The position and status of the parties;

(b) The reasonable wants of the claimant;

(c) If the claimant is living separately, whether the claimant is justified in doing so;

(d) The value of the claimants property and any income derived from such property, or from the claimants own earnings or from any other source;

(e) The number of persons entitled to maintenance under this Act.

(3) In determining the amount of maintenance, if any, to be awarded to a dependent under this Act, regard shall be had to-

(a) The net value of the estate of the deceased after providing for the payment of his debts;

(b) The provision, if any, made under a will of the deceased in respect of the dependent;

(c) The degree of relationship between the two;

(d) The reasonable wants of the dependent

(e) The past relations between the dependent and the deceased;

(f) The value of the property of the dependent and any income derived from such property; or from his or her earnings or from any other source;

(g) The number of dependents entitled to maintenance under this Act.



No person shall be entitled to claim maintenance under this Chapter if he or she has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion.



The amount of maintenance, whether fixed by a decree of court or by agreement, either before or after the commencement of this
Act, may be altered subsequently if there is a material change in the circumstances justifying such alteration.



Subject to the provisions contained in section 27 debts of every description contracted or payable by the deceased shall have priority over the claims of his dependents for maintenance under this Act.



A dependents claim for maintenance under this Act shall not be a charge on the estate of the deceased or any portion thereof, unless one has been created by the will of the deceased, by a decree of court, by agreement between the dependent and the owner of the estate or portion, or otherwise.



Where a dependent has a right to receive maintenance out of an estate and such estate or any part thereof is transferred, right to receive maintenance may be enforced against the transferee if the transferee has notice of the right, or if the transfer is gratuitous but not against the transferee for consideration and without notice of the right.
Last updated on August, 2016

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