SC sets Alimony benchmark at 25% of ex-husband’s salary
The Supreme Court set a benchmark of 25 per cent of net salary of husband to be paid as maintenance by a husband to his estranged wife while stating that it might constitute a “just and proper” amount as alimony.
A bench of Justices R Banumathi and MM Santanagoudar on Thursday observed while directing a resident of West Bengal, earning Rs 95,527 a month, to set aside Rs 20,000 as maintenance for his former wife and their son. The court also made the observation that the maintenance amount must be sufficient enough to make sure that a woman lived with dignity after separating from her husband. Its order came on the man's plea challenging a Calcutta high court order directing him to pay her Rs 23,000 per month. Though the apex court said there was nothing amiss in the high court order, it reduced the amount by Rs 3,000 on the ground that the man had remarried and also needed to provide for his new family.
The apex court's ruling follows its inclination to protect claims of women in matrimonial disputes affecting their financial status. "A Hindu woman's right to maintenance is a personal obligation so far as the husband is concerned, and it is his duty to maintain her even if he has no property. It is well settled that under the Hindu Law, the husband has got a personal obligation to maintain his wife and if he is possessed of properties then his wife is entitled to a right to be maintained out of such properties," the apex court said in a judgment in 2016.
“Twenty-five per cent of the husband’s net salary would be just and proper to be awarded as maintenance to the (former) wife. The amount of permanent alimony awarded to her must be befitting the status of the parties and the capacity of the spouse to pay maintenance, which is always dependent on the factual situation of the case and the court would be justified in moulding the claim for maintenance passed on various factors,” the bench said.
The ruling came after the apex court’s perseverance to protect claims of women in matrimonial disputes affecting their financial status.
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