Special Marriage Act
◦This is a secular law applicable to all those who are married under this Act, irrespective of their caste or religion.
◦Sections 36 and 37 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 also provide for alimony pendente lite and permanent alimony and maintenance for the wife, respectively. Unlike the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, there is no provision for maintenance for the husband. The sections read as follows:
◦Where in any proceeding under Chapter V or Chapter VI it appears to the district court that the wife has no independent income sufficient for her support and the necessary expenses of the proceeding, it may, on the application of the wife, order the husband to pay to her the expenses of the proceeding, and weekly or monthly during the proceeding such sum as, having regard to the husband’s income, it may seem to the court to be reasonable.
◦Provided that the application for the payment of the expenses of the proceeding and such weekly or monthly sum during the proceeding under Chapter V of Chapter VI, shall, as far as possible, be disposed of within sixty days from the date of service of notice on the husband.
◦[s 37] Permanent alimony and maintenance.—( same as sec. 25 of HMA)
◦The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 provides for maintenance pendente lite and for permanent alimony and maintenance.
◦It is significant to note that prior to Amendment Act 5 of 1988 only a wife was entitled to maintenance under the provisions of the Act. After the amendment the provision has been brought at par with the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and now even a husband can seek maintenance.
◦[s 39] Alimony pendente lite.—
◦[s 40] Permanent alimony and maintenance.—
◦Provisions for maintenance under the Christian law are contained in the Indian Divorce Act, 1869 as amended in 2001.
◦[s 36] Alimony pendente lite.—
◦s 37] Power to order permanent alimony
◦The personal law statutes governing a Muslim woman’s right to maintenance are the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 and the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986. The former Act provides for grounds under which a woman married under the Muslim law can seek dissolution of the marriage.
◦One of the grounds provided is that “the husband has neglected or has failed to provide for her maintenance for a period of two years. “The latter Act, as its very title indicates, makes provision for the protection of rights of Muslim women who have been divorced by, or have obtained a divorce from, their husbands, which includes right of maintenance as well.
◦There is no limit as to the amount which may be awarded by way of maintenance which depends on the circumstances of each case. The limit of 1/5th of the husband’s income in case of maintenance pendente lite in the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act prior to 1988 and in the Indian Divorce Act prior to 2001 have been done away with; so also the ceiling of Rs 500 under section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, (vide Amendment in 2001)