Maintenance in all cases to be awarded from the date of filing application: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has held that the right to claim maintenance under all enactments must date back to the date of filing the application.

It would be appropriate to grant maintenance from the date of application in all cases, including Section 125 Cr.P.C., the bench comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and R. Subhash Reddy observed in a judgment [Rajnesh vs. Neha] in which it issued exhaustive guidelines on payment of maintenance in matrimonial matters.

The court noted that Section 125(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that the Magistrate may award maintenance either from the date of the order, or from the date of application. It also noticed that there is no provision in the Hindu Marriage Act or the Domestic Violence Act which provides the date from which the maintenance is to be awarded. The Court observed that divergent views have been taken by the Family Courts as follows : first, from the date on which the application for maintenance was filed; second, the date of the order granting maintenance; third, the date on which the summons was served upon the respondent.


Therefore the bench directed thus:
“It has therefore become necessary to issue directions to bring about uniformity and consistency in the Orders passed by all Courts, by directing that maintenance be awarded from the date on which the application was made before the concerned Court. The right to claim maintenance must date back to the date of filing the application, since the period during which the maintenance proceedings remained pending is not within the control of the applicant.”

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