Maintenance is granted to wife’s who are unable to maintain themselves. The Supreme Court of India has said that delay in maintenance to wife is a violation of human rights. The Supreme Court has ruled that family courts cannot delay grant of maintenance to an estranged wife and said there was no escape for a husband from the responsibility of giving sustenance money to his wife despite marital discords and soured relations. Maintenance is the most important aspect in all matrimonial discords. Maintenance means appropriate food, clothing and lodging. By the phrase ‘unable to maintain herself’, it is not meant that she should be absolute destitute and should be on the street, should beg to survive and be in tattered clothes.
The maintenance has to be determined in the light of the standard of living of the person concerned, the wife enjoyed at the place of her husband. Maintenance can be classified in to two Interim Maintenance & Permanent Maintenance.
Interim Maintenance is the maintenance provided during the pendency or proceedings of the case in the court a monthly allowance for the maintenance under Section 125(1) of the Code. The underlying thought process behind giving such maintenance, is that one of party should not loose due to weaker footing at the time of contesting the case. The court order such person to make a monthly allowance for the interim maintenance of his wife or such child, father or mother, and the expenses of such proceeding which the Magistrate considers reasonable, and to pay the same to such person as the Magistrate may from time to time.
Quantum of such maintenance depends on various factors but most important aspect is the status of the parties prior to filing of the case and the income or salary of the spouse against whom such maintenance is claimed. Court always tries to bring both the party at equal platform and footing.
Permanent Maintenance is the maintenance awarded at the time when case is finally closed, decided and final hearing is being given. The maintenance could be periodical or monthly depending upon the circumstances.