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Husbands rights to claim maintenance from wife in India

In India, husbands also have the right to claim maintenance from their wives under certain circumstances. While the majority of maintenance cases involve wives claiming maintenance from their husbands, there have been instances where husbands have sought maintenance from their wives. Here are a few landmark Supreme Court judgments that recognize the rights of husbands to claim maintenance:

  1. Vimala vs. Veeraswamy (1991): In this case, the Supreme Court held that a husband has the right to claim maintenance from his wife if he can establish that he is unable to maintain himself due to physical or mental disability or any other valid reason. The court emphasized that maintenance laws should be applied in a gender-neutral manner, considering the principle of equality.
  2. Rohtash Singh vs. Ramendri (2000): The Supreme Court reiterated in this case that maintenance laws do not discriminate on the basis of gender and that a husband can claim maintenance if he is unable to maintain himself. The court emphasized that financial support should be provided based on the individual’s needs, earning capacity, and the financial resources of the spouse.
  3. Ramesh Chandra Dagdu Chitari vs. Mrs. Shanta Ramesh Chitari (2002): In this case, the Supreme Court held that a husband, like a wife, is entitled to claim maintenance from his spouse if he is unable to maintain himself due to factors such as unemployment, illness, or any other valid reason. The court emphasized that the focus should be on the actual need of the dependent spouse.

These judgments establish the principle that maintenance laws are not limited to one gender and that husbands also have the right to claim financial support from their wives under appropriate circumstances. However, it is important to note that such cases are relatively rare compared to instances where wives claim maintenance from their husbands. Each case is decided on its own merits and depends on the specific facts and circumstances presented. Consulting with a legal professional is crucial for accurate advice tailored to the particular situation.

In short, it is not a general practice of husbands claiming Maintenance from the employed wives, though the husbands are capable of earning themselves. The provision stated under Hindu Marriage Act is intended to support only those who are really and wholly incapable of maintaining themselves. As mentioned above, only a “Deserving man” is eligible to claim this right.

The provision of Maintenance to the husband will decrease the divorce cases, as it will bound the wife to maintain her incapable husband. And the wife will prefer to live with her husband rather than giving divorce and Maintenance to him.

Maintenance law is a gender-equal law under the Hindu Marriage Act as it provides the right to Maintenance to both husband and wife. However, other laws only give this right to wives, and therefore, there have been petitions filed against other laws, such as Section 125 of CrPC in the Supreme Court, claiming it to be gender-biased.

The provision in the case of a wife is generally liberal, and the wife in almost all cases is allowed to claim Maintenance from the husband, but in the husband’s case, the situation is not the same. There is only one law that gives this right to husbands, that also with strict conditions applied. Therefore, more laws should be made and implemented in other laws so that husbands can also claim their rights, and thus equality will be maintained in the society.

Advocate J.S. Rohilla

Call: 88271 22304

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