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Maintenance For Husband Should Be Duly Practiced

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 both.

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 maintain herself 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
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Authentication No: JL121093180590-29-0721

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