It is a well-known concept that only the wife is entitled to maintenance. But can a husband be also entitled to get maintenance from his wife? The answer is Yes. The husband is also entitled to get maintenance from his wife if the wife is earning a handsome salary and the husband is not able to earn his livelihood.
Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955-
Section 24 provides that the Husband is entitled to claim maintenance from the wife pendente Lite (pendency of suit) and also expenses of the proceedings.
Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955-
It provides the husband with the right to get permanent alimony and Maintenance. The term “Maintenance’’ here includes a wide range of things such as food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities which a person needs to sustain his life.
Where in any proceeding under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 it appears to the court that the husband has no independent income sufficient for his support and the necessary expenses of the proceeding, it may, on the application of the husband, order the respondent or the wife to pay to the petitioner the expenses of the proceeding, and monthly during the proceeding such sum as, having regard to the petitioner’s own income and the income of the respondent, which the Court found reasonable.
The application for payment of maintenance and the expenses of proceeding should be disposed of within sixty days from the date of service of notice on the respondent or as the case may be.
There are some requirements and conditions which need to be fulfilled to claim maintenance by the husband, that is the husband must be a financially weak person not able to maintain himself and support his livelihood due to his physical or mental incapacity. But if the husband is an able-bodied and fit person but is sitting idle and is not earning he is not entitled to claim maintenance.
The court also considers some factors while deciding the matter of granting maintenance to the husband such as the social and financial status of both the husband and the wife, the wife’s earning capacity, etc. If the Court founds that the husband has enough sources of income and other property, it may not grant maintenance to the husband.
The burden of proof that the husband is not capable of supporting his livelihood absolutely lies on the husband himself.
Lalit Mohan v. Tripta Devi, AIR 1990 Jammu, and Kashmir: In this case, the divorced husband claims maintenance from his former wife. The husband claimed that the wife was employed by National Hydro Project Corporation and was having sufficient means to pay maintenance to her husband at the rate of Rs.500 per month which was his minimum requirement. It is submitted by the learned counsel for the husband that the husband has suffered a head injury that caused a permanent defect in the nervous system it was not possible for him to earn a sufficient amount of money for his own livelihood.
Considering the situation of the husband and the circumstances of the case the Court ordered the respondent i.e. the wife to pay Rs.500 as expenses of the proceeding and to pay a sum of Rs. 100 as permanent maintenance.