Upholding an order of a lower court, the Bombay HC bench of justice Nitin Sambre on December 18 said that if divorce between a couple is due adultery on the part of the woman, then the woman has no right to a maintenance claim. The HC, while passing an order on a case, stated that if an allegation of adultery had been proved against the ex-wife during the process of obtaining a divorce, then the court has the right to cancel the maintenance that was being paid to her.
The case being heard was of a couple who got married in 1980 however, in 2000 the husband sought divorce under section 13 of The Hindu Marriage Act,1955 on the grounds that his wife had committed adultery which was granted. However, later on, the divorce order was challenged by the woman during which the husband had to pay maintenance to the wife and their son. While this was going on in 2010 the wife filed an application for enhancement of the maintenance from Rs150 for her and Rs25 to Rs 500 per month for her and Rs400 for the child which was approved by the lower court.
Aggrieved by the magistrate’s order, the husband applied for a revision application in the additional sessions judge at Sangli in 2015. While looking through the case, the judge at the lower court, observed that as the allegation of adultery was proved against the wife and divorce was granted as per the statutory embargo under sub-section (4) of section 125 of The Hindu Marriage Act,1955, the wife was not entitled to any maintenance at all.
Interpretation of the section says,“If the allegations of adultery are proved against such a woman or in spite of the husband being ready to maintain her, she refuses to cohabit the wife can be refused payment of maintenance.”
Based on the submissions of the sessions judge at Sangli the Bombay HC bench of justice Nitin Sambre said, “Considering the expressed embargo on the right of the petitioner to claim maintenance particularly, divorce was ordered on April 27, 2000, based on the allegation of adultery, the court below has rightly held that the petitioner-wife is not entitled to maintenance.” The high court also made sure to distinguish between the rights of a woman who was “divorced not on the ground of proved adultery” to continue getting maintenance after divorce.