Women and Maintenance

Maintenance, as a concept, has its roots in the social justice system of a civilised society. The Supreme Court, explaining the rationale behind providing maintenance in the case of Badshah v. Urmila Badshah Godse and Anr[1], has held that the “provision of maintenance…aims at empowering the destitute and achieving social justice or equality and dignity of the individual. …The law regulates relationships between people. It reflects the values of society.” In India, the right to claim maintenance is statutorily available under both personal and general laws, and such a right cannot be taken away by way of an agreement to the contrary[2]. Maintenance can be awarded during the course of the proceedings (i.e. maintenance pendente lite) or at the conclusion thereof (i.e. permanent maintenance). The right to claim maintenance is available to wives, children and parents. Under certain personal laws, even husbands (who are unable to maintain themselves) are entitled to claim maintenance.  This article discusses the provisions under various personal and general laws that entitle a wife to claim maintenance.
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Supreme Court on rights of Hindu Muslim Interfaith Children

The Supreme Court of India, in the case of Mohammed Salim vs Shamsudeen[1], has finalised the views of a number of High Courts by ruling that a child born out of the marriage of a Muslim man and Hindu woman is legitimate and the child is entitled to inherit the property of the father.

This is a very significant judgment in the current socio-cultural milieu, even though inter-faith marriages are still deeply frowned upon.

Inheritance Rights of a Child Born Out of an Irregular Marriage under Muslim Personal Laws

All matters (except those relating to agricultural land) with respect to intestate succession, special property of females, including personal property inherited or obtained under contract or gift or any other provision of personal law, marriage, dissolution of marriage, maintenance, dower, gifts etc., of Muslim followers are governed by the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 (Shariat).  Shariat extends to the whole of India except the state of Jammu & Kashmir. 
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