The provision of maintenance / permanent alimony being a beneficial provision for the indigent (needy) spouse, can be invoked by either of the spouse, can be invoked by either of the spouse, where a decree of any kind governed by Sections 9 to 13 has been passed and marriage tie is broken, disrupted or adversely affected by such decree of the court and the same was upheld by High Court of Bombay through the learned bench led by JUSTICE SMT. BHARATI DANGRE in the case of Bhagyashri vs. Jagdish [WRIT PETITION NO.2527 OF 2021] on 01.04.2022.
The facts of the case are that the marriage between the petitioner and the respondent was solemnized and subsequently, the wife filed a petition under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 seeking dissolution of marriage on the ground of cruelty and desertion, the petition was allowed and the marriage between the parties came to be dissolved. The decree of divorce was directed to be drawn accordingly. After passing of the decree of divorce, the respondent filed Hindu Marriage Petition claiming for grant of permanent alimony from the petitioner-wife at the rate of Rs. 15,000 per month.
This application being filed under Section 25 of the 1955 Act, pleaded that since the marriage being dissolved by a decree of divorce, the application is filed as the respondent-husband is not having any source of income and the petitioner-wife, on the contrary had acquired the educational qualification of M.A., B.Ed. and, on completion of education, is serving at Shri Datta Mahavidyalaya, Talni, Taluka Hadgaon. Moreover, the divorce had caused him great embarrassment. The husband also cited his ill health possession of no immovable properties.
The counsel for the petitioner submitted that since the marriage between the petitioner and the respondent is dissolved by a decree of divorce, the proceedings for permanent alimony and maintenance under Section 25 of the Act of 1955, are not maintainable and by referring to the wording used in the said section “husband or the wife”, on dissolution of marriage, no such application can be entertained.
The counsel for respondent submitted that the provision contained in Section 25 of the Act of 1955 do not depend upon the outcome of the relationship subsequent to divorce, since the section use the word “at any time subsequent thereto” and therefore, the embargo that the applicant as the husband after dissolution of marriage cannot be denied the benefit flowing from Section 25 of the Act of 1955.
The court relied on Section 24 and 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act to state that they confer a right on the needy spouse to claim interim or permanent alimony, where a decree of restitution of conjugal rights or divorce has been passed.
The court observed that, section 25, which states that an application for alimony can be sought at any time. Therefore, the divorce did not bar the court from entertaining the application. “The scope of Section 25, therefore, cannot be restricted by holding that on divorce/dissolution of marriage, the wife or the husband cannot bring such proceedings.”
Judgment reviewed by – Shristi Suman