SC ruling: Woman will be granted alimony even if the divorce was on basis of desertion of husband

The Supreme Court on April 7th declared that a woman after deserting her husband is liable to claim alimony if she is unable to sustain herself.

According to Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a magisterial court can order the maintenance for the wife during the pendency of divorce proceedings or when she is unable to sustain themselves after divorce. Also, sub- section (4) of section 125 provides the three situations when the woman is not entitled to the maintenance, i.e, if she is living in adultery or has deserted her husband with no sufficient cause or if the couple is residing separately with their mutual consent.

The woman can, however, not claim maintenance from her husband during the period they are living separately before the decree of divorce being granted.

In the case in Himachal Pradesh High Court, Manoj Kumar challenged their order to pay Rs. 3000 monthly to his wife as maintenance even though the divorce was granted on grounds of desertion. The Supreme Court upheld this decision by granting the alimony from the grant of the divorce decree from the date of grant of divorce.

India Today reported that the grounds of the passing of the decree of divorce becomes immaterial post legal separation and maintenance is to be considered under section 125 of CrPC.

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