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Under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, the husband’s and wife’s income and property, as well as the conduct of the parties and other circumstances, are to be taken into account when awarding permanent alimony and maintenance: Kerala High Court

Under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, the husband’s and wife’s income and property, as well as the conduct of the parties and other circumstances, are to be taken into account when awarding permanent alimony and maintenance is upheld by the Kerala High Court in the case of P.V.G. Menon v. Anjana Menon through a division bench of A. Muhamed Mustaque and Sophy Thomas, JJ.

FACTS OF THE CASE

According to Sections 10, 24, and 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act and Sections 18, 20(1)(d), and 26 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, the appellant’s wife and children had requested a judicial separation, permanent alimony, compensation, and an injunction in this case.

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

Although the wife did not want her children to be associated with a divorce, she requested an order of judicial separation, lifelong alimony, and damages for physical and mental anguish.

The Family Court ruled that the appellant’s wife was entitled to a decree for judicial separation, monthly separation, maintenance of Rs 20,000, compensation of Rs 5 lakhs, and an injunction prohibiting the Appellant from selling the Schedule Property. Additionally, maintenance payments of Rs 15,000 per month for the minor kids were made.

Accordingly, an appeal was filed by the appellant.

JUDGEMENT

The High Court noted that the Family Court exercising jurisdiction under the Hindu Marriage Act may order a lump sum or such monthly periodic sum towards maintenance and support for a term not to exceed the applicant’s life at the time of passing any decree.

Furthermore, pursuant to Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, upon the issuance of a judgement of judicial separation under Section 10 of the Hindu Marriage Act, the respondent was entitled to request permanent alimony in the form of a gross amount or a monthly or periodic amount. However, there was no evidence to support this claim.

Court said that according to Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, only the wife or husband is eligible for permanent alimony and the children are not given any money under this heading.

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.

Last but not least, 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’ real estate. As a result, the Family Court’s injunction decision violated Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

The Court observed that under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, the husband’s income and other property, if any, and the wife’s income and property, as well as the conduct of the parties and other circumstances, are to be taken into account when awarding permanent alimony and maintenance.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NISHTHA GARHWAL

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