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SC to Frame Guidelines on Payment of Maintenance in Matrimonial Matters

S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D I A

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No(s). 9503/2018

(Arising out of impugned final judgment and order dated 14-08-2018 in CRWP No. 875/2015 passed by the High Court Of Judicature At Bombay At Nagpur)

RAJNESH Petitioner(s)

VERSUS

NEHA & ANR. Respondent(s)

JUDGMENT
(IA No. 159041/2018 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING C/C OF THE IMPUGNED IA No. 172048/2018 – PERMISSION TO FILE ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS/FACTS/ANNEXURES)

Date : 11-09-2019

CORAM :
HON’BLE MS. JUSTICE INDU MALHOTRA
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE R. SUBHASH REDDY

For Petitioner(s) Mr. Anurag Gharote, Adv.
Mrs. Pragya Baghel, AOR For Respondent(s) Mr. Anshuman Singh, Adv.
Mr. Satyajit A. Desai, Adv.
Ms. Anagha S. Desai, AOR

This matter was called on for hearing today.

O R D E R

UPON hearing the counsel the Court made the following Learned counsel for petitioner is directed to handover the demand draft of Rs. 2,00,000/- (Rupees Two lakhs) towards arrears of maintenance to the learned counsel for the respondent-wife. The petitioner is directed to pay an additional amount of Rs. 3,00,000/- (Rupees Three lakhs) which, as per his own admission is due and payable to the petitioner towards arrears of maintenance within two weeks from today.

We direct both the Counsel to file affidavits of their clients as to the statements of accounts with respect to payment of maintenance by the Courts below.

We appoint Mr. Gopal Sankarnarayanan, Senior Advocate and Ms. Anitha Shenoy, Senior Advocate as Amicus Curiae to assist the Court for framing guidelines on payment of maintenance in matrimonial matters.

The Registry is directed to provide a copy of the paper book to the Learned Amicu Curiae to enable them to assist in the matter.

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List the matter on 14th October, 2019 for further proceedings.

(POOJA CHOPRA) (RAJINDER KAUR)
COURT MASTER BRANCH OFFICER

5 thoughts on “SC to Frame Guidelines on Payment of Maintenance in Matrimonial Matters

  1. Mandatory Prerequisites
    All cases need to be first heard on merits before application of maintenance on mere assumptions
    Maintenance can be awarded to either parties.
    Maintenance cannot be awarded on the date of application. It has to be on merits only
    All Matrimonial disputes & Maintenance cases shall be heard free of cost via the NALSA route. Unless any of the parties have agreed upon substantial information to avail services of private lawyers. Cases which have children, should be completely heard free of cost to either of the parties.
    India being a poor country, same rules and procedures cannot be applied for all. The SC should seek information on the employment data, cost of living from the various ministries, NGOs, etc before even allowing divorce procedures. Hence one cannot fix any percentage of income, but on the net savings and on the merits of the case can be awarded to either of the parties. In order to decide city wise, what is the minimum income level, cost of living, etc., on which parties can afford to stay separately. Stricter norms should be followed in case there are children. Freedom to separate cannot come at a cost of economic injustice. Parties should be advised properly on all economic issues before the litigations start, so that they can resolve disputes amicably.
    Both the petitioner and the respondent should be advised in advance about the costs incurred towards maintenance, litigation costs, etc… with sufficient time period, so that either of the parties can withdraw from the cases & mutually resolve their disputes.
    Same law and procedures cannot be applicable for all economic sections of the society
    If there are other cases running, then those cases have to be resolved, before any compensation or maintenance is awarded to either of the parties.
    Same prerequisites should be followed in child cases. If any of the parties does not have access to the child, they need not pay maintenance. Maintenance can only be awarded after complete restoration of 24 hours access to both the children and both the parents, and upon hearing of the cases in merit.
    Family Courts do not have mandatory family counselors or even family rooms. Children rooms are too small. How can then Family courts be stated to be completely functional bodies? Most family issues can be resolved if there are sufficient professional family counselors, without numerous litigations which are affordable only to the very rich people in this country.
    Maintenance cannot be awarded to wife who has deserted. Neither can interim maintenance be granted. Interim maintenance may only be an advisory issued to be payable subject to complete and final hearings. Interim maintenance cannot have execution and criminal procedures applied to.
    Only when it has been proven that cruelty has happened from either of the parties, shall compensation be awarded to the deserving party. There should be a provision that if no cruelty happen is proved then the entire interim maintenance given to wife should be refunded back with compound interest rate.
    Same case in child maintenance cases
    When cruelty is proven that wife has done cruelty on husband them wife has to pay compensation / maintenance based on the merits of the case
    The party paying maintenance should have complete access rights to the other party. For example if a father is applying for maintenance of the child, he should have complete free & fair access to his children, not mere “visitors or visitation” rights. This should be automatically granted without any separate application U/s 25/26 of HMA or HMGA, etc.
    Or if the mother has sufficient income and is paying for the poor custodial father, she should be granted automatic access to the child.
    Any case with child, both parents should be provided complete free and fair equitable access to the children without litigation. Only after this, on the merits of the case, can the maintenance be decided
    If party claiming maintenance is unable to prove cruelty or sufficient reason no maintenance shall be granted.. however of interim is granted husband must have right to recover it. Interim Maintenance can only be considered as an advisory, not as a mandatory financial burden.
    Parallel proceeding in the name of law cannot be made and set off shall be given if awarded in one case
    Maintenance should be a provision for the wife to prevent vagrancy. Not a mandatory tool for every woman.

    Family Courts issues
    The Family courts do not have adequate gender neutral family counselors. Nor are their any family rooms. How can their process even be considered complete?
    The Family Courts do not have sufficient child access and family re union spaces, how can their procedures, even be considered as complete? When there is no effort or facility for amicable resolution of disputes.

    Procedure for Maintenance
    All cases need to be first heard on merits before application of maintenance on mere assumptions
    The maintenance is a 2-way process, it cannot be a one way process, the maintainer should have complete rights to check on the authenticity of use of his/her maintenance money by the other party as well as what it is being used for. Maintenance should not be an excuse for one sided exchange of money. In other professions, maintenance is a complete activity, in which maintenance routines are devised based on expert advice, and both parties are advised accordingly. Both the parties, have freedom to choose to go ahead or not. Maintenance procedures include numerous maintenance activities, such as actual education, medication, etc… The maintainer, should have complete access to the “maintained”
    Criminal procedure of arrests should not be a standard approach in matrimonial disputes. In Family disputes, they should be completely avoided. They should only be when
    The maintainer has sufficient income, and sufficient savings after factoring all costs of his/her & their dependants living. For example in Delhi NCR, the cost of living is atleast 50-70,000 per month. Purchasing a house costs a minimum of Rs 1 lakh per month. Hence criminal maintenance procedure can only be adapted as on 2019 to persons who have sufficient net worth or net income above Rs 2 lakhs per month. (However to be decided on merits)
    The maintainer has been proven to have deliberately deserted or done DV or any other anti-social activity on the “maintained”.
    3 consecutive warnings over a period of 6 months to 1 year each have been provided.
    1st notice after one year of award of maintenance
    2nd Reminder, 6 months of award of 1st notice
    3rd Warning 1 year of 2nd reminder
    Procedure for recovery should also consider the standard of living and income levels at that period of time. The court shall not attach any property, etc, unless it has sufficient grounds that more than 90% of the maintenance amount is pending.
    During this period the aggrieved party/parties appeal can be heard on merits. For example the maintainer may not have sufficient income any more or the “maintained has sufficient income to support themselves.
    Under no circumstances can the order be made final and binding. Changing circumstances need to be considered.
    If it is found that the “Maintainer” does not have sufficient means, the court shall have sufficient powers to direct the government to provide appropriate alternate employment to the “Maintainer” based on his/her capacity to deliver. The court shall take the new circumstances after provision of job / vocation into consideration.
    Where to deposit the “Maintenance money”
    Mutually decided – 1st step without any interference
    Common joint account so that the Maintainer & the maintained have equitable access
    Any other system in which a sample agreement will include complete access & supervision to the Maintainer to supervise the use of his/her money to the maintained.

  2. No Maintenance to Educated Women;
    No Maintenance to Working Women or if she left the job to claim Maintenance
    No Interim/Maintenance to till 498A/DV or cruelty decided
    No Maintenance to Women who deserted husband without any valid reason
    No Maintenance if husband ready to take back and wife refused to come back.
    No Maintenance if children are with Father.
    TAX exempt of Maintenance money
    TAX if maintenance money is more than TAX limit
    No Maintenance if she filed FALSE case.
    No Multiple Maintenance claims in HMA 24 or 125 CrPC.
    No Maintenance if women comes to the court with Unclean hands.

    Maintenance to be decided on merits not based on Mans capacity to earn or assets. it should be decided on the Women contribution to the marriage and family, not for the marriage lasted for few months or a year. Man earn working hard if Women has not supported to achieve or reach the status they have, Women is not entitled to claim or has no right to claim any money just because she married to him.

    No Maintenance to a able bodied or Educated Women, if she sit idle just to claim maintenance, Women ministry or Govt should make a plan to employee her to be empowered, and not to allow her begging husband and be a burdon on him. Govt / Man can support her to maximum time for 6 months, by then she has to find a job

  3. Beti Padao Beti Bachho
    What happened to all the education which is sponsored by tax money, Should we allow women who don;t want work and just live on the enstranged husband and his hard earned money.

    Many women come with unclean hands to court, and have exhorbitant demands in terms of alimony and maintenance. Her word is taken as gospel by judges and police. If that is the case why don’t the courts take action against the false oath takes, are they not abusing the Judiciary and Police which are public goods. Thus leaving genuine victims in lurch.

    Take Strict actions in PERJURY and CONTEMPT of COURT Petitions.

    Immediate RECOVERY of INTERIM paid till now if it was found DV was not committed or in instances the plaint was DISMISSED against the wife who files.

    Criminal Judicial Administration is ADVOSRIAL but the the Civil Judicial Administration has been full of APPEASEMENT policy. The moral hazard that nothing will happen to women who files false cases. It is loaded gun in the hands of a motivated person who is hell bend teach a lesson to husband and family as they don’t follow her dictums.

    The growing tendency of taking dates and postponing and dragging case so that burden of payment is increasing with each passing day, has to STOP. Why does a simple 125 maintenance case for wife and child have to take years to complete. Why are the directions in laws not followed say complete train in 60days. What is the punishment for the judges, lawyers, petitioners who drag case? Only place after movie theaters and fish markets that are crowded are the courts. What a wast of human potential.

    There is growing indiscipline, this should be dealt with iron hand.
    Spare the rod spoil the child.

  4. multiple maintenance should not be allowed. A single act of adultery should take away the right of maintenance from a woman in all provisions of law. if a woman fails to prove her allegations interim maintenance money should be refunded with interest and criminal proceeding should be initiated against the woman.

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