Is a wife who has deserted her husband entitled to maintenance u/s. 125 Crpc

Rohtash Singh vs Smt. Ramendri And Ors on 2 March, 2000 : Special Leave Petition (crl.) 2763 of 1999

This Judgement by the Supreme Court revolves around the issue which is whether a wife against whom a decree for divorce has been passed on account of her deserting the husband can claim Maintenance Allowance under Section 125 Cr. P.C. and how far can the plea of desertion be treated to be an effective plea in support of the husband’s refusal to pay her the Maintenance Allowance.

Though the marital relations came to an end by the divorce granted by the Family Court under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, the respondent continues to be “wife” within the meaning of Section 125 Cr.P.C. on account of Explanation (b) to Sub-section (1) which provides as under :-

Under this provision, “wife” also includes woman who has been divorced by/from husband and has not remarried.”

The Court held that this plea, as we have already indicated above, cannot be accepted as a woman has two distinct rights for maintenance.

1. As a wife, she is entitled to maintenance unless she suffers from any of the disabilities indicated in Section 125(4).

2. As a divorced woman, she is again entitled to claim maintenance from the person of whom she was once the wife.


A woman after divorce becomes a destitute. If she cannot maintain herself or remains unmarried, the man who was, once, her husband continues to be under a statutory duty and obligation to provide maintenance to her.


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