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Only the wife/husband is entitled to permanent alimony as per Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act: Kerala High Court

According to Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, the Kerala High Court stated that only the wife or husband is entitled to permanent alimony, and the children will not receive any money under that heading through the Division Bench of Justices A. Muhamed Mustaque and Sophy Thomas in the case of P.V.G. Menon v. Anjana Menon (Mat. Appeal No.759 of 2018)

FACTS OF THE CASE:

Due to the appellant’s cruel character and behavioral issues, the first respondent’s marital life was terrible. Because the appellant has no love or affection for her, she was treated like a slave. Due to the aforementioned, the wife and her children moved in with her parents in 2011, and since then, they have been living apart.

Additionally, it was claimed that the spouse asked for the first respondent’s divorce after referring to her as a mentally ill person. Although the wife did not want her children to be associated with a divorce, she requested an order of judicial separation, permanent alimony, and compensation for physical and mental torture.

The Family Court determined that the first respondent/wife was entitled to a judicial separation decree, monthly separation, maintenance of Rs 20,000, compensation of Rs 5 lakhs, and an injunction prohibiting the appellant from alienating the scheduled property. The minor children were also given Rs 15,000 in monthly upkeep.

JUDGEMENT:

The High Court ruled that when issuing a decree under the Hindu Marriage Act, the Family Court can grant a lump payment or a monthly periodical sum for maintenance and support for a duration not exceeding the applicant’s life.

Furthermore, because there was no evidence to show that the first respondent has her own job and income to support herself, she was entitled to ask for permanent alimony, either as a lump sum or as a monthly/periodic sum, on passing a decree for judicial separation under Section 10 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

The High Court ruled that in order to pay the children’s monthly maintenance at the rate of Rs 15,000 was to be set aside, with the children’s right to request a higher maintenance amount in a separate petition to the Family Court if they choose to do so. In lieu of the monthly maintenance of Rs 20,000 mandated by the Family Court, the Court deemed it equitable and proper to award a lump payment of Rs 30 lakhs as permanent alimony, taking into account the appellant’s financial means, potential, and ownership of properties and buildings.

Finally, the Bench ruled that Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act expressly states that any permanent alimony and maintenance orders made in accordance with that Section may, if necessary, be secured by a charge against the parties’ immovable property. As a result, the Family Court’s injunction order violated Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

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