Alimony law in India

Alimony law in India

Alimony law in India

The Indian Divorce Act 1869

The Indian Divorce Act has been drafted into the Indian legal system in the year 1869. In India divorce guidelines and procedure differs in accordance with the community of the married parties involved. The divorce amongst Christians is governed by the Indian Divorce Act, 1869, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains by the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Muslims by the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, Parsis by the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 and the civil and inter-community marriages by the Special Marriage Act, 1956.

The State of Jammu and Kashmir is has been excluded under the ambit of this divorce Act, although people domiciled in different states yet residing in Jammu and Kashmir shall be qualified for these rules and procedures.

Alimony under Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

For Hindus, The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is the governing act. Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, deals with this provision. It isn't subjected towards limitations under section 10 (Judicial Separation) or section 13 (divorce) or section 9 (Restitution of conjugal rights).

The right of alimony for the woman as per the provisions of Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956

A Hindu wife is entitled to live separately from her husband without forfeiting her claim towards maintenance and alimony shall be granted to her on the accompanying ground, that is if the husband is -

  • guilty of desertion, i.e., abandoned the wife without reasonable reason and without the wife’s consent or against wife’s wish, or willfully neglecting his wife.

  • has treated his wife with such cruelty to case a reasonable apprehension in her mind that it shall be harmful or injurious in living with her husband.

  • is suffering from a virulent form of leprosy.

  • has any other wife living.

  • the husband keeps a concubine in the same home in which his wife is living or habitually lives with a concubine elsewhere.

  • has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion towards another religion.

  • or there is any other reason justifying his wife living separately.

A Hindu wife won't be entitled to separate residence as well as maintenance from her husband if she is unchaste or is not Hindu anymore by conversion to any other religion.

Rights of alimony for the woman as per the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Another law with respect to alimony is set down in section 125 CrPc. It discusses alimony rights to wife given by the husband. Section 125, with few other alimony rights, grants the right of Interim maintenance also.

Alimony under Muslim law

Alimony for Muslims is administered by the Code of Criminal Procedure or Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Divorce Act, 1986. The provision as per this act are:

  1. A sum (fair and reasonable in nature) will be paid to the wife through her Iddat period.

  2. A sum which is equal to mehr or dower, which was decided during the beginning of a marriage.

  3. Each and every one of the properties which were given to her prior to, at or after marriage by any of the relatives and family of the husband.

  4. After the conclusion of the Iddat period, if the wife has not remarried and is not capable to maintain herself, she is qualified for maintenance.

  5. When the wife has kids and is not capable to maintain them.

Alimony under Christian law

The Indian Divorce Act, 1969 administers the alimony laws for Christians in India. Section 36 of the Act discusses the right of women towards maintenance or alimony, which is like Muslim law i.e. the husband shall be qualified to give relief towards the wife.

Types of Alimony and Maintenance

Alimony and maintenance are categorized in:

  • Interim Alimony and Maintenance.

  • Permanent Alimony and Maintenance.

Interim Maintenance

Interim maintenance is a proviso wherein a husband is obliged to meet the maintenance expenses of the wife during the court proceedings. Also, the husband must compensate for the expense of court proceedings incurred by the wife.

Permanent Maintenance

This proviso takes effect upon the dissolution of marriage or judicial separation when the husband is required to remit any sum fixed by the court. The time-frame of compensation could either be made periodically or on a lump-sum ground.

Amount of Alimony

In India, there is no set decree on the basis of which the sum of Alimony shall be fixed. There are a variety of parameters on which the sum of alimony is decided which includes but not restricted to:

  1. The earnings of both spouses.

  2. Standard of living.

  3. Financial Status.

  4. Conduct of individuals and other facts and circumstances.

  5. The number of kids.

  6. The number of years the couple is married, etc.

Alimony is not taxable

The sum received as alimony is not taxable as capital receipt. However, when any investment is made of the received alimony money and gains interest, then such amount of interest is taxable.

Cancellation or Non-Issue of Alimony

The Court might decline a request for this reason or cancel an existing order of permanent alimony and maintenance if:

  • the wife has an income that would allow her to maintain a standard of living which is comparable with that of her marital years.

  • The wife has not stayed chaste (when the wife is the beneficiary).

  • The husband has an extramarital affair (when the husband is the beneficiary).

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eStartIndia Team

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