Family Dispute

Now spouse (husband or wife) can claim maintenance from the date on which the application for maintenance was filed: Supreme Court

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LegalKart Editor 03 min read 2812 Views
Last Updated: Dec 05, 2023
"Supreme Court Rules: Spouses Can Claim Maintenance Retroactive to Application Filing Date"

Case No: CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 730 of 2020 (arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.9503/2018)

Referred Acts in the Judgement:

  • The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973
  • The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (DVA), 2005
  • Hindu Marriage Act (HMA), 1955
  • Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954
  • Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act (HAMA), 1956

 

Summary of the Case:

The Wife (Neha) filed an interim application u/s 125 CrPC claiming maintenance for herself and their son by her husband (Rajnesh). Family Court granted her a favourable Order of Rs.15,0000/- p.m. and Rs.5,000/-p.m. to their child to be paid by the Husband (Rajnesh). This Order was challenged by the Husband by way of a Criminal Writ Petition in Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench) wherein the Court affirmed the Order of the Family Court and dismissed the Criminal Writ Petition. Husband lastly appealed to the Supreme Court. The Hon’ble Court awarded additional costs and relevant Order in maintenance of the Wife and their son by the Husband and also provided detailed guidelines on the fourth issue amongst the five (5) problems mentioned in the judgment that is issue of date from which maintenance to be awarded. 

In this Judgement Hon’ble Supreme Court observed and analysed all the precedents and regulatory frameworks used to decide a date from which maintenance can be awarded.

 

What should be the date from which Maintenance to be Awarded?

Hon’ble court observed that since there is no uniform regime and there are multiple practices adopted by the family courts across the country to decide the date from which the maintenance can be awarded. Hon’ble court also observed that there are three possibilities mostly adopted as the maintenance date:

a) Date on which the application for maintenance was filed;

b) Date of the order granting maintenance;

c) Date on which the summons was served upon the respondent.

 

Hon’ble court observed various precedent & judgements from different family courts and reached to the conclusion that family matters take a lot of time for their disposal and this delay is not in favour of justice and against the human rights & basic dignity of the individual.

Hon’ble court also provided the rationale for the above direction that it will enable the wife to survive  the financial tough time because if a dependent spouse loses its financial strength then it became very challenging to represent themselves before the court.  

The Honorable Supreme Court has provided clear guidance to ensure uniformity and consistency in the rulings of all courts, stating that the date on which a maintenance application is filed shall be regarded as the date from which maintenance can be granted. The Court further noted that the right to claim maintenance should be retroactive to the date of the application's submission, as the duration of the maintenance proceedings, while pending, is beyond the control of the applicant. 

 

Read the judgement here:                   https://main.sci.gov.in/supremecourt/2018/37875/37875_2018_39_1501_24602_Judgement_04-Nov-2020.pdf

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