A marriage is a sacred ceremony wherein both the partners accept each other
and tie the knot and thereby take the vows of being together, looking after each
other and helping each other in all the spectrums of life.
Hindu Marriage is a sacred contract between the husband and the wife which is
bound by the saptapadi ceremony, the saptapadi ceremony is the most important
ritual amongst all. Saptapadi means seven steps and each of them signifies a
promise, which ultimately states that husband and wife have to stand strong
unitedly for each other and support each other in all the aspects of life.
Marriage is not just a one-time ceremony but it is the one, wherein the husband
and wife are bound to abide by the duties and liabilities towards each other for
their life and hence, the duties and liabilities do not end on the occurrence of
divorce. When the husband and the wife decide to separate their ways apart from
each other, they still have to think about each other's future and then can
choose their path. Maintenance is a must for either or both of the parties so
that they can live a decent life after the divorce. The husband and the wife are
bound to apply for maintenance as they have taken vows to support each other in
all aspects of life and hence, will have to abide by the same till the end.
Over the years, one thing which has come to the notice is the increase in the
rates of divorce, divorce filing is done on a daily basis and an immense amount
of cases are filed every day and tons of divorce decrees are passed every day.
Along with divorce decree, maintenance is also provided to the parties but what
is observed is that the maintenance is provided only to the wives majorly and
not to the husbands, this is the main question of concern.
Husband and wife both are the parties to a marriage and hence, both are equally
bound for all the privileges as well as the duties towards each other but when
it comes to maintenance, the decision is passed mostly in the favour of wives.
Marriage is done by two parties and hence all the rights should be abided by by
We have seen the struggle of women over the years, we have seen the cruelty
which women have faced and the torture, man-handling, trauma caused by husbands
to wives over the years and hence, the favour provided to women over maintenance
is justiciable but today's women have become stronger and powerful then the
one's in the past and they speak about equality in all aspects.
The Constitution of India in it's Article 14 states Equality before the law
whereas the Hindu Marriage Act,1955 under section 24 states for maintenance of
the husband and the wife, then why is it that the husbands aren't treated on the
grounds of equality in the Court of Law?
If we look into the matter carefully, Husband and wife take vows in a marriage,
but when they announce to break the marriage, both the parties mutually or
through contesting divorce decide to break their marriage in all manners which
ultimately breaks their vows as well, so the duty of taking each other's
responsibility shouldn't be questioned.
So if the duties and responsibilities have come to an end the question of
maintenance should not arise but the Indian law has managed to keep the parties
to the marriage protected towards each other and hence has implicated the law of
maintenance, and so the law should be applied to both the parties equally.
In Kamelandra Sawarkar v. Kamelandra
, the issue was that under what
circumstances the husband can get maintenance u/s 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act?
On which the Court held that since the wife has a source of income and she is in
employment, the husband cannot wholly depend on the wife's income because the
husband is not handicapped or there is no impediment to earning.
He is an able-bodied person, equipped with the skills and so can earn to support
himself and hence, cannot claim maintenance under the Act. This clearly states
that the judicial system is not so favourable when it comes to providing
maintenance to the husbands because if a wife in the same situation can claim
for maintenance, the husbands should be bound for the same.
In Chaturbhuj v. Sita Bai
, the Court held that where the personal income
of the wife is insufficient, she can claim maintenance under section 125 CrPC.
In Bhagwan v. Kamla Devi
, the Supreme Court ruling stated that even if an
estranged wife is earning, she can make a claim for maintenance if her income is
not sufficient to sustain her. So, the belief that a working woman cannot claim
maintenance isn't true. The Court stated that the wife should be in a position
to maintain her standard of living which is neither luxurious nor penurious but
what is consistent with the status of the family. The expression unable to
does not mean that the wife should be absolutely destitute
before she can apply for maintenance.
As mentioned in the earlier cases, it vividly states that the maintenance can be
claimed by wives on several grounds but a husband cannot claim for the same as
the Court states that he can earn his own living but that's what a wife can also
do for herself, unless and until she is dependent on others for the same.
In today's world we fight for equality for all the communities, so why is it
that when it comes to maintenance claims, husbands aren't favourably granted the
same, so can we say that the fight for equality has already started becoming
partial? The whole agenda of Article 14 screams for equality and the same should
be applied for all under all laws and regulations.
When the occurrence of marriage takes place, the husband and wife are treated as
a united couple and are bound to serve each other but when it comes to divorce,
why should not the husband be granted maintenance?
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Aishwarya S.Patil
Authentication No: JL121093180590-29-0721