The general meaning of maintenance means to support or sustenance. The provision of maintenance are contained in the Criminal procedure code,1973 under sections 125 to 128, under the Hindu marriage act 1955, under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance act,1956. Under the protection of women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior citizens Act, 2007.
To protect the interests of wife after the dissolution of marriage, the courts provide for maintenance so that the wife can be brought back to the same position as she would have been in if the divorce was not granted.
Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the right of maintenance, under the family law in India, extends not only to the wife and dependent children but also to indigent parents and divorced wives. The maintenance claim depends upon the husband’s capability to provide sufficient means.
Maintenance under Hindu Law
According to the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 and Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 a woman has the right to claim maintenance. During the proceedings, if the court concludes that either the husband or wife does not have any source of income, the court allows maintenance to the petitioner from the respondent.
Maintenance under Muslim Law
Under the Muslim Law, Maintenance (nafaqa) is provided to the wife during the period of iddat, if the wife is pregnant during the period iddat she can claim maintenance for 2 years from the date of birth of a child or if they had a child at the time of divorce the wife can claim maintenance till the time she remarries or the child becomes dependent. If a provision for special allowances was there in the contract of marriage that needs to be provided to the wife. Muslim Women (Protection of rights on divorce) Act, 1986 governs the provision of maintenance under Muslims.
Maintenance under Christian Law
The Indian Divorce Act governs the law relating to maintenance in Christians. It says that a woman can be allowed maintenance but it should not be more than one-fifth of the husband’s income also there is a precondition that says the wife should remain unmarried and chaste. The amount depends on the wife’s income, husband’s property and his income and various other factors.
Maintenance under Special Marriage Act, 1954
This Act allows the wife to raise a claim for maintenance from the husband depending on his income and property, her income, their behaviour and various other circumstances. The court which passed the decree can modify the decree if it feels there are changes in the circumstances of the case.
Maintenance is often seen as a biased favour granted to woman, but looking at the vulnerable nature of a woman her dignity and needs are to be protected in the best way possible.
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