Family Dispute

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How much should be the Maintenance to the Spouse? Supreme Court Decided in its judgement.
Family Dispute

How much should be the Maintenance to the Spouse? Supreme Court Decided in its judgement.

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 third issue amongst the five (5) problems mentioned in the judgment that is issue of criteria for determining quantum of maintenance. 

 

Criteria for Determining Quantum of Maintenance:

Why a spouse (husband or wife) seek maintenance? The purpose of maintenance is to save either of the spouse from financial crisis and tough time away from their marital home. They too deserve a better life and should not face hardship just because their marriage got failed. Hence, the laws provided for maintenance are gender-neutral i.e. in the eyes of law both  husband or wife are equal and the maintenance amount(quantum)  should be decided neutrally.    Courts have not prescribed any set formula in determining the quantum (amount) of maintenance.

Hon’ble Supreme Court by way of this judgment determined the factors which should be identified and kept in consideration while determining the quantum of maintenance including a) status of the parties;

b) Reasonable needs of the wife and dependent children;

c) Whether the applicant is educated and professionally qualified;

d) Whether the applicant has any independent source of income;

e) Whether the income is sufficient to enable her to maintain the same standard of living as she was accustomed to in her matrimonial home;

f) Whether the applicant was employed prior to her marriage;

g) Whether she was working during the subsistence of the marriage;

h) Whether the wife was required to sacrifice her employment opportunities for nurturing the family, child rearing, and looking after adult members of the family; and

i) Reasonable costs of litigation for a non-working wife.

Apart from the factors stated above, Supreme Court also provided for additional factors in determining the quantum of maintenance including:

a) Age and employment of parties;

b)  Right to residence (shared household by the couple);

c) Where Wife is earning some income; maintenance of minor children; and

d) Serious disability  ill health of her, child/ren, family members and relatives, if any.

 

To read the complete judgement:                   https://main.sci.gov.in/supremecourt/2018/37875/37875_2018_39_1501_24602_Judgement_04-Nov-2020.pdf

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

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

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.  

 

To bring uniformity and consistency in the orders passed by all the Courts Hon’ble Supreme Court’s direction is very clear that the date on which  the maintenance application is filed will be considered as the date from which Maintenance can be awarded.  Hon’ble court also observed that the right to claim maintenance must date back to the date of filing the application, since the period during which the maintenance proceedings remained pending is not within 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

In a historic judgement, Supreme Court provides guidelines for deciding compensation and maintenance in matrimonial cases
Family Dispute

In a historic judgement, Supreme Court provides guidelines for deciding compensation and maintenance in matrimonial cases

Citation of the matter: CRIMINAL APPEA L NO. 730 of 2020 (arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.9503/2018).

Referred Sections in the Judgement:

 Section 125 and 128 in The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Key happenings in the matter Chronologically:

1.Family Court: (24.08.2015)

The Wife (Neha) first filed an interim application u/s 125 CrPC claiming maintenance for herself and their son by her husband (Rajnesh). The Family Court awarded her an Order for interim maintenance of Rs.15,000/- per month to Wife starting from 01.09.2013 and Rs.5,000/- per month to their son starting from 01.09.2013 to 31.08.2015 and Rs.10,000/- per month from 01.09.2015 till further orders.

2. Bombay High Court- Nagpur Bench (14.08.2018)

The above order was challenged by the husband as he was unemployed and could not pay the maintenance amount as directed by the Court. He challenged by way of a Criminal Writ Petition No.875/2015 before Bombay High Court, Nagpur Bench. High Court dismissed the Writ Petition dated 14.08.2018 and affirmed the Order of the Family Court.

3. Supreme Court: (2020)

Husband appealed against the High Court’s judgement in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court directed the Husband to pay the entire arrears of maintenance @Rs.15,000/- per month within a period of 12 weeks from the date of judgment and to comply with all the orders u/s 125 of CrPC. In addition to this, Supreme Court observed that this application of interim maintenance was pending before the court for 7 years now and Courts could not pass orders for enforcement against the successive applications filed by the Wife.

For the above purpose, Supreme Court provided for framing of guidelines on the issue of maintenance, which would remove issues of  overlapping jurisdiction under different enactments for payment of maintenance, payment of Interim Maintenance, the criteria for determining the quantum of maintenance, the date from which maintenance is to be awarded, and enforcement of orders of maintenance.

Read complete Judgement:     https://main.sci.gov.in/supremecourt/2018/37875/37875_2018_39_1501_24602_Judgement_04-Nov-2020.pdf