Supreme Court Direction in Rajesh vs Neha and Anrs (04/11/2020)
There are different statutes providing for making an application for grant of maintenance / interim maintenance, if any person having sufficient means neglects, or refuses to maintain his wife, children, parents. The different enactments provide an independent and distinct remedy framed with a specific object and purpose. Inspite of time frames being prescribed by various statutes for disposal of interim applications, in a vast majority of cases, the applications are not disposed of within the time frame prescribed.
The legislations which have been framed on the issue of maintenance are the Special Marriage Act 1954 (“SMA”), Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. 1973; and the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (“D.V. Act”) which provide a statutory remedy to women, irrespective of the religious community to which they belong, apart from the personal laws applicable to various religious communities.
Maintenance may be claimed under one or more of the afore-mentioned statutes, since each of these enactments provides an independent and distinct remedy framed with a specific object and purpose. While it is true that a party is not precluded from approaching the Court under one or more enactments, since the nature and purpose of the relief under each Act is distinct and independent, it is equally true that the simultaneous operation of these Acts, would lead to multiplicity of proceedings and conflicting orders. This would have the inevitable effect of overlapping jurisdiction. This process requires to be streamlined,
so that the respondent/husband is not obligated to comply with successive orders of maintenance passed under different
The party claiming maintenance either as a spouse, or as a partner in a civil union, live-in relationship, common law
marriage, should be required to file a concise application for interim maintenance with limited pleadings, alongwith an Affidavit
of Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities before the concerned court, as a mandatory requirement. On the basis of the pleadings filed
by both parties and the Affidavits of Disclosure, the Court would be in a position to make an objective assessment of the
approximate amount to be awarded towards maintenance at the interim stage.
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