Maintenance Rights for Divorced women under different religions in India

Maintenance is one of the consequences of divorce and is an entitlement of divorced woman. It empowers them financially and helps her live a decent life even after the divorce. The amount of maintenance is evaluated by the respective courts in the context of presented facts, grounds and evidence and thus, varies from case to case.

Tue Jun 11 2024 | Family Law

In India, there are different religious laws which encompass regulations pertaining to maintenance rights for divorced women. Maintenance means an amount which a husband is obliged to pay to his wife either upon separation/divorce under certain conditions or during their marital life. The objective of providing maintenance to the divorced women is to provide them financial independence, so that she can live life with convenience.

Maintenance rights under different religions in India

  1. Valid and fair provision and maintenance by her ex-husband within the ‘iddat period’.
  2. If she has children who are born before or after the divorce, then she can claim reasonable and fair provision and maintenance from her ex-husband for a minimum period of 2 years from the birth dates of such children.
  1. All the properties which are given to her by her parents/relatives/friends or by her ex-husband/his relatives/his friends.
    In case, she is unable to maintain her living after ‘iddat period’ then as per the law, the magistrate will order her relatives who would have inherited her property after her death to make such provision as he may deem fit  and suitable for her.   If she is divorced and has children, who are financially independent, then magistrate will order them to pay maintenance to her but if the children are not financially capable, then the woman’s parent will be directed to pay for her maintenance.

Grounds for awarding maintenance

  1. If the husband is guilty of deserting her or neglecting her.
  2. If the husband is suffering from venereal diseases or virulent form of leprosy.
  1. If the husband is keeping the concubine elsewhere or in the same house where the wife resides.
  2. If the husband has converted his religion and has ceased to be Hindu.
  3. If the husband has treated her with cruelty.
  1. The husband is ill and is suffering with venereal diseases.
  2. The marriage cannot be consummated due to certain valid reasons such as husband’s impotency, illness or age.
  1. If the husband’s conduct towards her was cruel.

Quantum of maintenance awarded by the Court in India

  1. She will be given a reasonable and fair provision by her ex-husband during the ‘iddat period’ and for the time from the expiry of ‘iddat period’ to her receiving notice of talaq. In the case of Shamim Bano, Supreme Court passed a landmark judgment that she can file a suit in the court to gain quantum of maintenance even after the divorce/talaq is granted.
  1. An amount equivalent to ‘Meher’ or ‘dower’ as agreed to be paid at the time of her marriage or anytime afterwards by the ex-husband.

Filing of the maintenance application

A maintenance application is filed with the district court of apt jurisdiction or the High Court. They are also allowed to seek maintenance from their ex-husbands under the Criminal Procedure Code, if she is unable to maintain herself. Here the Judicial Magistrate of First Class will determine the quantum of maintenance and also consider whether the applicant has received maintenance order under her personal law or not. Interim Maintenance can be required before the hearing through an application to the court via Notice of Motion.

What should the application contain in India

The application by wife Under Section 125 of CRpC for maintenance will contain the following:-

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