Today, in a very important judgement, the Supreme Court of India has issued guidelines on payment of maintenance in matrimonial cases.
Guideline on Payment of Maintenance in Matrimonial Cases
The Court held that maintenance in matrimonial matters would be awarded from the date of filing the application for maintenance.
Further, for execution/enforcement of orders of maintenance, it is directed that order or decree of maintenance may be enforced u/s 28A of the Hindu Marriage Act.
It was further clarified that Section 20(6) of the DV Act and Section 128 of CrPc as may be applicable. The Court also stated that an order of maintenance might be enforced as a money decree of a civil suit as per the provisions of CPC, more particularly Sections 55, 58, 60, 51 read with Order XXI.
On the issue of overlapping of jurisdiction, the Bench held that:-
- In cases where a party makes successive claims for maintenance under different statutes, the Court will consider setoff or an adjustment of the amount awarded in previous proceedings.
- It is now mandatory for the applicant to disclose previous proceedings and the orders passed in the previous proceedings in subsequent proceedings.
- If the order passed in previous proceedings requires any variation or modification, then it would be required to be done in the same proceeding.
Parties Need to Disclose their Assets and Liabilities:
Hon’ble Court also clarified that for payment of interim maintenance, an Affidavit of Liabilities and Assets should be filed by both the parties in all maintenance proceedings including in proceedings that are pending before the concerned District Code / Family Court / Magistrates Court throughout the country.
Background of the Case:-
An Appeal was filed in the Supreme Court where the order passed by the High Court was challenged. The High Court had upheld the Family Court’s order where the husband was directed to pay interim maintenance of Rs 15,000 per month from 1st September 2003 to the wife and Rs 5000 to the child from 01.09.2013 to 31.08.2015 and after that to pay Rs 10,000 per month from 01/09/2015 till further orders.
The High Court had observed that the wife is also entitled to a lifestyle that was similar to the husband. To arrive at this conclusion, the Court took note of the husband flaunting photos of wildlife that were taken exotic locales using expensive camera equipment.
Title: Rajnesh vs Neha
Case No. Crl A No. 730 of 2020
Date of Order: 04.11.2020
Coram: Hon’ble Justice Indu Malhotra and Hon’ble Justice Subash Reddy