Maintenance Rights of Divorced Women: Reconsideration Plea by Mr. Debal Banerjee

The Supreme Court revisited the issue of maintenance rights for divorced women in a plea presented by Mr. Debal Banerjee. The case involves a debate on whether obligations to maintain a divorced spouse should endure post-divorce. Stay tuned for more insights on this critical legal matter.


  • The argument presented is that even a divorced woman falls under the definition of wife in the explanation provided.
  • Therefore, a wife who has been divorced due to desertion would not be eligible for maintenance as per sub-section (4).
  • Mr. Debal Banerjee has cited three judgments of this Court that contradict his argument.
  • His contention is that under sub-section (4), a wife who has deserted her husband cannot claim maintenance under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C.
  • Mr. Debal Banerjee urged for reconsideration of the matter.
  • Counsel for the respondent argued that once a divorce decree was passed against the respondent and marital relations with the petitioner ended, all mutual rights, duties, and obligations should also end.
  • It was pleaded that in such a situation, the obligation of the petitioner to maintain a woman with whom all relations ceased should also be considered to have ended.

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  • Section 125(4) states that a wife shall not be entitled to maintenance from her husband if she is living in adultery, refuses to live with him, or they are living separately by mutual consent.
  • The definition of ‘wife’ in Section 125 does not include a woman who has been divorced as there would be no question of her living in adultery or refusing to live with her ex-husband.
  • Sub-section (4) of Section 125 does not apply to divorced women as there is no longer a husband-wife relationship after divorce.
  • The court, in Rohtash Singh Vs. Ramendri & Ors., also held that the provision of maintenance under Section 125 does not apply to divorced women.
  • Section 125 of the Code provides for the grant of maintenance to wives, children, and parents.
  • Vanamala vs. H.M. Ranganatha Bhatta (1995) 5 SCC 299 also dealt with a similar issue.
  • The court held that maintenance can be granted to wives, children, and parents under Section 125 of the Code.
  • A woman after divorce is entitled to maintenance if neglected by the ex-husband.
  • The timing of filing a petition for maintenance is at the discretion of the wife.
  • A divorced woman has the right to claim maintenance in two distinct capacities.
  • The deeming fiction of a divorced wife being treated as a wife is for the limited purpose of grant of maintenance.
  • A divorced wife is not compelled to live with her ex-husband.
  • The fact that the wife did not file a maintenance petition during the divorce proceedings does not bar her from doing so later on.
  • Explanation II to Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. deems a divorced woman as a wife for maintenance claims.
  • The husband cannot deny maintenance to a divorced wife on the grounds of her refusal to live with him.
  • The view on maintenance rights post-divorce as established by previous judgments has been confirmed by a three-judge Bench.
  • The qualifications or income of the wife do not negate her right to maintenance post-divorce.
  • The history of the matrimonial dispute and legal proceedings prior to divorce are factors considered in the maintenance claim.
  • In the absence of evidence, no presumption can be raised that the wife is earning enough to support herself.
  • The appeals were dismissed as no merit was found.
  • The husband’s income through taxable returns was brought on record, showing he earned Rs.13,16,585/- per year.
  • Based on this income, Rs.10,000/- per month was awarded as maintenance to the wife.
  • No evidence was provided regarding the wife’s income or employment.
  • It was the husband’s responsibility to provide such evidence.

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  • The pending application(s) has been disposed of.
  • The judgment regarding the specific part (RPC) stands final and conclusive.
  • All issues related to the RPC have been resolved in the judgment.

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Case Number: Crl.A. No.-000232-000233 / 2015

Click here to read/download original judgement

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