What is the meaning of Pendente Lite Maintenance and Permanent Alimony?

Maintenance Pendente Lite and expenses of proceedings:

During pendency of the matrimonial case, this is a maintenance relief under Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) where either the wife or the husband who has no sufficient independent income for her/his support, upon filing the application for maintenance, the applicant can get maintenance and litigation expenditure. This provision is under Section 24, Hindu Marriage Act.

Explanation of Section 24, HMA:

When it appears to the court in any proceeding under this HMA, either the wife or the husband, has no independent income sufficient for support and the necessary expenses of the proceeding, upon filing an application, the court may order the respondent to pay to the petitioner the expenses of the proceeding. And to pay to the petitioner monthly during the proceedings such sum as the court deems it fit, having regard to the petitioner’s own income and the income of the respondent.

Permanent Alimony and Maintenance:

Under Section 25, HMA, upon filing the application before a court of competent jurisdiction by either the wife or the husband, it may, at the time of passing any decree or at any time thereafter, order that the respondent pays the applicant a gross sum, or a monthly or periodic sum, for her or his sustenance and support for a time not exceeding the applicant’s life, having regard to the respondent’s and applicant’s income and other property.

Who can seek the Pendente Lite Maintenance and Permanent Alimony?

The only aggrieved parties can be husband or wife upon satisfying the requirements of the section 24 or 25 as the case may be. The maintenance under these Sections is granted to the women in the practical scenario of the litigations. The Pendente Lite Maintenance is limited to the pendency of the case, whereas the Permanent Alimony and maintenance are granted upon conclusion of the Matrimonial cases under HMA.

Why is the Pendente Lite Maintenance and Permanent Alimony granted?

The legislature in its wisdom identifies that the parties to a marriage can have extreme financial hardships during matrimonial proceedings and by invoking these provisions, a financial relief can be granted to the aggrieved party. The legislature has also given statutory remedy to either of the spouses so that, there is no violation of social security even if a partner is abandoned and this measure is important for the institution of marriage.

When can the Pendente Lite Maintenance and Permanent Alimony be sought?

Whenever the applicant qualifies the conditions related to Section 24 or 25 in a matrimonial dispute, relief can be sought. The courts are usually liberal for the wife to give relief under these provisions. While for husbands, these litigations are difficult to be defended before the courts.

Where can the Pendente Lite Maintenance and Permanent Alimony be sought?

The husband or the wife can seek Pendente Lite Maintenance and Permanent Alimony before the District Court of the competent jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of Principal Judge, Family Court can be invoked in terms of Section 19 of the Hindu Marriage Act. Every petition under Section 19, HMA shall be filed under the Act before the Family Court of the original civil jurisdiction where:

  • The marriage was performed;
  • The place of residence of the respondent;
  • The last place of residence of the parties;
  • If the petitioner is the wife, the address where she is living at the time of the petition filed.

Procedure and Steps Pendente Lite Maintenance and Permanent Alimony:

The applications under Section 24 & 25 are filed in the court where the matrimonial dispute under Hindu Marriage Act is already going on between the parties or the freshly instituted cases. For example, the divorce proceedings, annulment of the marriage, restitution of Conjugal rights, etc.

Steps involved:

Step 1: Filing the application in the pre-existing case or freshly instituted case;

Step 2: Filing of the Reply by Respondent;

Step 3: Interim Relief (if any);

Step 4: Evidence of the Petitioner (in the main case);

Step 5: Evidence of the Respondent (in the main case);

Step 6: Arguments of the parties;

Step 7: Judgment.

Maintenance in multiple cases:

The maintenance provisions have been given in many other Acts also, for example, Domestic Violence Act, CrPC, Hindu Adoptions, and Maintenance Act. There can be situations where maintenance is awarded by multiple courts and under such circumstances, the courts deduct the amount which is received by the applicant in another case. For example, if a wife is getting Rs. 10000 maintenance in the already existing case, and in a subsequent case, maintenance of Rs. 12000 is granted, the wife will only get Rs. 2000 in the subsequent case i.e. the difference of both awards. This issue has been discussed in detail by the latest judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Rajnesh v. Neha, (2021) 2 SCC 324. The Hon’ble Supreme Court on this point held that when a party makes multiple claims for maintenance under various statutes, the Court will consider an adjustment or set-off of the amount awarded in the preceding process when deciding whether any further money should be granted in the subsequent proceeding.

Do you need any legal consultation in your matrimonial dispute?

The couples involved in matrimonial disputes are under a lot of stress, at times, the litigation becomes tedious and the parties to the dispute take the decisions that are counterproductive. The best matrimonial lawyers can provide you with expert guidance and the consequences of your steps. You can seek legal advice on your matrimonial matters from our qualified matrimonial lawyers at The Law Codes.

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