Supreme Court of India: ‘No alimony for woman who desert husband’

Supreme Court of India: ‘No alimony for woman who desert husband’

New Delhi, Nov 18

In an observation with far-reaching implications, the Supreme Court has said that a woman who deserted her husband and the matrimonial home and refused to return despite repeated requests was not entitled to maintenance.

Upholding a decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a bench headed by Justice V S Sirpurkar said the law of the land did not allow maintenance in cases where the wife deserted her husband, children and the matrimonial home.

In the case before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Poonam, who was married to Mahender Kumar of Jind on January 23, 1992, left her matrimonial home on March 18, 1998, alleging harassment and dowry demands. She also left her children.

Poonam later moved the family court, seeking divorce on grounds of cruelty. But Mahender Kumar filed an application before the court on February 20, 2002, praying for restoration of conjugal rights under the Hindu Marriage Act.

She did not respond to the application, and Kumar was granted ex parte decree as it was construed that Poonam would not return to her matrimonial home.

Fresh appeal

Two years later, Poonam approached the family court again, seeking divorce — on the ground that she was living separately — and demanding maintenance.

Though the court granted her divorce, her appeal for maintenance was turned down.
The Supreme Court bench said: “You left the matrimonial home on your own, and now you want maintenance. Is this the law of the country? What is the justification for your staying separately?”

No ill-treatment

When the case reached the Supreme Court, Poonam challenged the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s decision, seeking maintenance of Rs 4,000 per month from Mahender.
The high court judgment said she had failed to prove that she was ill-treated by her former husband.

Additionally, the court observed: “Failure of the petitioner-wife to justify her decision to stay away from the respondent-husband and two kids shows that she had left society of the respondent on her own accord.”

77 thoughts on “Supreme Court of India: ‘No alimony for woman who desert husband’

  1. If wife is goverment servic than all so giving maintanance

  2. hey
    m askin dis fr my frnd
    he gt married in 2010 but dey never lived together e1 aftr marriage.
    jst wntd 2 knw i hve heard dat der is sum tme period fr a marriage to get nullified if d partners r nt stayin 2gthr.
    so wht is dat tme period??
    plz hlp..!!

  3. My son was married in March 2012.within 3 weeks of marriage his wife started quarreling with him and after troubled marital life for 4 months, finally left for her parents’ home and has never returned despite persistent attempts by my son to work out the marriage. she later opted for mutual divorce and now demanding huge sums as alimony. will she be entitled to do so and can she file FIR alleging domestic violence? what are the rights available to my son and we aged parents and whether we all can be prosecuted or have any remedy from getting prosecuted.

  4. By which year this judgement has been taken and which is the case number? where is the copy of the judgement? Without pdf copy this judgement how it can belive anybody? If there is pdf copy of the certified judgement please send to my email address –

  5. Sir, I need your advice and help, I got married in 2002, its been 12 years now, its an arranged marriage , in my family I live with my husband one 11yr old son and mother in law. My mother-in law always been too interfering in my married life, she use to put allegations on me related to house hold chores and complain it to my husband, I simply use to ignore.
    During initial 6yrs, my father in law was alive he was nice to me and 6yrs went taking care of him. After his death, life became miserable, my husband started taking too much care of my mil bcos now she has fat amount of property that my father in law has left, he is so so much with my mil that he started sleeping in her room…I kept quiet for an year bcos of my father in law’s death although, she was not so good with my father in law .Also My husband never use to give me money, I have to tell him my requirements only then he would give that much amount, After that, to stay away from all this, I have taken up the job , but my mil somehow forced me to leave so that I can look after house and do her work…this went on but along with this difference between me and my husband started increasing and now its been nearly 6 years he is not sleeping with me , comes to room sometime for 2-3 days but again goes back, I use to feel sick about this, he never use to talk about any thing to me, he never use to share his talks, we hardly go out together. I walked out of house many times but come back after few months as I still use to love my husband and felt same from his side, but, last year only, as told by his mother he asked me to stay out of house till his mother doesn’t call me back, this was bcos I went to my mom’s house without informing them and he did not let me enter house…and I was sitting in cold with my son outside the house for nearly 3hours…he did not let me in…my parents asked me to call police but I did not bcos of my son, I didn’t want him to see his father been treated by police….I know… that was big mistake…I should have called, may be I stiill didn’t want to end my marriage
    …then my parents quitely took me to their house…my husband contacted my son after 20 days and met me but nothin he talked about coming home I also didn’t want to go…my parents forced me to take some step but I was not ready bcos I still felt my husband is under pressure of my mother in law and as he is not earning well so he is dependent on my mil …I again got a job, now in same school where my son is studying, I was happy at my parents house and life became comfortable, me and my husband use use to meet and chat and he use to take my son with him for 1-2 days, then after 8 months my husband decided to call me back, but I decided to come back on one condition that for no reason I will leave my job and If you don’t want to leave ur mother alone, I will stay with her but I will not take care of her atall…initially he agreed and called us back…after a month she also went for 2months to see her daughter abroad, we were very happy, now after she is back things have again got worsen than before, my husband is whole day at home don’t even go out for work and sitting in her room watching tv with her and its like his and mil’s routine, meals are exactly same, he fights with me and pleases her mom….it has become hell for me now. Ironical part is yet to come, due to some dirty politics at my work place, I was asked to leave the job…I am depressed now and want to run away with my son to another country…plz tell me can I do that…I want take migration visa…I cant survive here..plz help..can he create problems for me.. I dont want to let anybody know about all this and just quietly leave …help me I m in great depression.

  6. Is there any law to punish the wife if she files a false dowry harassment case or domestic violence case against husband and which gets proved to be false?
    Does the court put such women behind bars?

    My wife put a case 125 demand for maintenance i would like to know if do i have to pay any maintenance to that lady who had lived with me only for 40 days after marriage? And left the home, as i have filed for divorce on the grounds of mental cruelty from her and her parents? for info she is not working. And also she ve medical problems which I know after marriage

  7. in some cases, same judge convicted women for filling false case (if you are lucky)
    based on many other points you can deny maintenance to wife please visit


  9. It’s good decision by Honorable court. Many more women are misusing the law and taking advantage. .

  10. Pls let me know on my e-mail if possible when this judgement was passed by Supreme Court. Has any other similar judgement been passed by SC after that ?

  11. Nice judgement but on this topic many judgements n also supported provisions of 125cr.pc

  12. Dear sir,

    i have find the judgment on site, but i can’t find judgment of above, can you send me judgment for my mail id.

  13. Sir I got married in 2009. My hus cheated me my family like he finished his B tech nd dng govt job but his qualification s intermediate only no private job also not der. His parents used to support him. He nd his family tour chard me a lot they used for o harness me. So I kept in mahilal police station they came nd gave us 1 lakh nd agreed fr mutual divorce .fr us nd fr his family the lawyer s same so still nw also the case s gng on but nw the lawyer cheated us like after submitting the case to court .The dates he did informed us . So nw the case s gng to dismiss nw wt shuld I do plz kindly help me it’s been too long time

  14. I had married in January 2002 and my wife lived with me till 2004 and then she left me and went abroad for 1 year, but she did not come to India for 4 years. After 4 years she came to India in 2008. Then, I asked her that if you have some relation over there, give me divorce, but she is not giving divorce and she left abroad again and I am living here alone my life is totally disturbed, please guide me what should I do. Thanx

  15. My wife has deserted me . We had a marriage of 2.5 years and during this time she had left my home for quite a number of times and every time I have to go his in laws house and tolerate humiliation and abusive languages and then got my wife back. My wife has made it a habit and now ask me to stay alone without keeping relation to my mother, father, entire family, I am tired of doing the same.
    Still I am trying to solve issue but may she demands for a huge alimony and also says that if I am not ready to pay she will claim interim maintenance and fight a strong case against me.
    Also she threatens me to put behind bars using 498A.
    She is 24 yrs of age and my father in laws knows the law much better than I do as I get a salary of 35k she may she demands 35% of it.
    Now my question is as I am under financial pressure due to a house rent car loan. Can she claim any alimony considering the fact she is qualified, have a chance of remarriage, we have 1 baby girl and also our marriage can’t be considered as a long term one as it is <5yrs.
    Is getting married in this country is something like a trap if u r not married to the right person.
    I know the law has strengthened woman's rights , but do we men have the right to live life ,does our legal system in India give us any right.

  16. One of my office colleague is facing a similar situation and I don’t know how to help her. She had a bad marriage and live separately on her own for last 7 years. She and her husband are not even on talking terms and he has never bothered to call her and has never given her even a single rupee till date.

    However, her husband is too scared to sign on the divorce papers. He fears that court will force him to pay alimony and maintenance if he signs on them. He is not interested to remarry. He says he has no problem if his wife remarries without obtaining a divorce. He says that he cares more for his wife’s happiness than the law and he will not file a case of bigamy against her.

    Her husband does not feel threatened by false cases of dowry harassment and domestic violence filed against him and his family. He says, he does not fear the police and torture. But he simply shivers at the thought of paying money to his estranged wife. He says that he would rather prefer to die than parting with his wealth.

    No amount of assurance that his wife will immediately remarry after divorce and not demand any money can convince him. He says that he does not trust his wife. He says that if he signs on the divorce paper, then his wife may cancel her plans to remarry and that would automatically make her eligible for alimony and maintenance.

    Can you kindly guide how could we arrive at a solution to this problem?

  17. Hi,
    I need your advice on a very serious issue. Its a matter of my friend’s life and death.

    Please let me know how to contact you?

    Thanks in anticipation!!!

  18. Hi All

    I came across a marriage between two hindus which was not registered and ever seven feras were not done. The marriage was solemnized by mere exchange of var-mala and boy applyong sindoor to girl.

    Would this marriage be a valid marriage? Are there are judgments passed on similar grounds? i could not find it online, please h

  19. is there any witness or photos of this marriage then Women can claim; if not its difficult to say its marriage or not. there are judgments without any of such garland or sindoor, if couple stay together court declare it as marriage.

    Indian laws and judges are weird.

  20. Dea Sir,

    I know that My nephu marriage June 2013 after marriage nephu wife nad nephu with stay but after one yera she has gone her parents and charge the dory case file and send me a notice by court some time before i recived the one notice form the the court she demand the maintance charges but she is B.COM AND M.B.A. CAN I REGHIT TO GIVE THE MAINTANCE CHARGES.

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