SC: Woman divorced for deserting can’t claim alimony for desertion
A woman divorced on the ground of deserting her husband cannot claim maintenance from her spouse for the period when she was living separately before the grant of divorce by a court, the Supreme Court observed today.
The apex court was dealing with section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) which provides that a magisterial court can order for maintenance of wives, children and parents.
A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar referred to the legal provision and said a woman is not entitled to receive maintenance from her husband if she is living in “adultery” or has deserted her spouse without any sufficient reason or is living separately by mutual consent.
“The wife, who has deserted her husband, is not entitled for compensation during the subsistence of marriage. She becomes entitled for the compensation after the grant of decree of divorce,” the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul, said.
The bench said the grounds or reasons for grant of divorce decree become immaterial when the issue of maintenance is raised after the legal separation and a divorcee is entitled for compensation under section 125 of the CrPC.
The court was hearing the appeal of a man against a Himachal Pradesh High Court order.
The high court had upheld the order of a sessions court granting maintenance of Rs 3,000 per month to the woman.
Referring to various judgements, the high court, however, had said that the woman would be entitled to maintenance from the date of grant of decree of divorce.
She cannot claim maintenance for the period when she was living separately prior to grant of divorce by the court, it had said.