According to the Hindu adoption and maintenance act, the maintenance includes the food, shelter, clothes, education and medical facilities. And for the unmarried daughter, includes the reasonable expenses for her marriage.

Person is liable to give the maintenance to those women who are dependants and amount of maintenance is decided according to the necessity or capability of the claimant.

There is obligation under Hindu law and the legal duty of the person for maintaining the aged parents, children and the wife and some of the law recognize, the husband has obligation to maintain her wife.



 In Hindu adoption and maintenance act, it is clearly said that who are entitled to take the maintenance, those are wife, widow daughter in law, child, aged parents.

Section 18 of Hindu Adoptions and maintenance act tells about the maintenance of wife. Clause 18 (1) says before or after the commencement of the act, the Hindu wife is entitled to get maintained by her husband during his life time.

Section 18 (2) says that when wife is entitled to get claim for maintenance from her husband, for the separate living from the husband on following grounds-

  • In section 18(2) (a), Desertion is ground for living separate which says abandoning her without any reasonable cause or with her consent or willfully neglecting her. The desertion duration is at least for two years. The desertion is also grounds for the judicial separation and divorce under section 10 and 13 of the Hindu marriage act.
  • In section 18 (2) (b), cruelty is ground for living separate from her husband due to the fear of her husband of causing harm or injuries to her.
  • In section 18 (2) (c) for leprosy as a ground for the separate residence. It does not have a prescribed duration. It must be existing at the time when the claim for separate residence and maintenance will be made.
  • In section 18 (2) (d) describes when another wife is living, it is ground to claim for living separate residence and maintenance. When husband have more than one wife at the same time. Husband is liable to give maintenance to the later wife if the other wife is alive.
  • In section 18 (2) (e) is for keeping a concubine, it is the ground for claim separate living and maintenance. Where he keeps concubine in the same house where wife is living or habitually living with the concubine.
  • In section 18 (2) (f) conversion is ground for claiming the maintenance from the husband, if he is ceased to their religion.
  • In section 18 (2) (g) any other justifiable cause for living separate from her husband.

In section 18 (3) says that Hindu wife shall not be entitled for the claim of separate living and maintenance. If he is unchaste or ceased to Hindu religion by way of conversion any other religion



Section 19 of the Hindu adoption and maintenance act provided the maintenance of widowed daughter in law.

Section 19(1), it is entitled to those married wives who whether before or after the commencement of the act, shall be entitled for maintained by the father in law after the death of her husband.

Proviso that if the wife is unable to maintain herself by her earning or other property or wife has no property of her own, or unable to get maintenance-

  • from the estate of her husband or her father and mother.
  • from her son or daughter or his or her any estate.


In section 19 (2), any obligation under sub section (1) shall not be enforceable when her father in law has not the means to do so from his co-parcenary property in his possession out of which the daughter in law has not obtained any share, and any such obligation shall cease when the father in law remarriage the daughter in law.



In section 23 (1) Says that the court has discretion to determine whether the amount of maintenance shall be awarded under this provision and court has decision in regard with the sub-section (2) or sub section (3), as the situation of case.

Section 23 (2) determine the awarded amount of maintenance to the wife, child, aged parents

  • The position and status of the parties: The court has to consider the position and status of the parties. By the cases if there is widow, the court says that the first need of the widow is maintaining with the reasonable comfort
  • Reasonable want of the claimant: In this the court says that there is no fixed criteria to judge the reasonable want of claimant but if the claimant suffering from any problems or disease which are serious, or the financial position of the claimant are reasonable want.
  • Claimant living separately: In this claimant living separate form the husband without reasonable cause the claimant get either less maintenance or no maintenance. Where wife living separate from her husband with the justifiable cause she will be entitled to get maintenance. But the widow wife is not entitled to get maintenance.
  • Separate earning of claimant: Whether the claimant has its separate property or earning or inherited from her husband or father. It is not included for amount of the maintenance.
  • The number of claimants entitled to be maintained: When the maintenance amount is to be fixed, the court also considers the number of persons whom the non- claimant has to maintain.



As we see, according to the Hindu adoption and maintenance act, 1956, the woman is entitled to get the maintenance in different ways from the HMA. All women has right to get maintenance amount. There are different provisions for different woman to get different amount of maintenance from those persons who are entitled to give the amount.


Author: Manish Kumar,
Delhi Metropolitan Education( Affialiated to GGSIPU) 2nd year (BALLB)

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