Court holds jurisdiction for alimony post-divorce, observes Punjab and Haryana High Court : The Tribune India

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Court holds jurisdiction for alimony post-divorce, observes Punjab and Haryana High Court

Court holds jurisdiction for alimony post-divorce, observes Punjab and Haryana High Court

In a significant judgment, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has reinforced the rights of spouses seeking alimony post-divorce. Citing the Hindu Marriage Act, the Bench emphasised that the jurisdiction of the courts to award alimony remained intact even after the decree of divorce. - File photo



Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, June 10

In a significant judgment, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has reinforced the rights of spouses seeking alimony post-divorce. Citing the Hindu Marriage Act, the Bench emphasised that the jurisdiction of the courts to award alimony remained intact even after the decree of divorce.

Section 25 of the 1955 Act itself envisages that the wife can initiate proceedings for grant of permanent alimony even after the decree of divorce. Therefore, the court does not become functus officio with the passing of the decree and continues to have jurisdiction to award alimony even thereafter. Justices Sudhir Singh and Harsh Bunger

The ruling is significant as it empowers spouses to pursue proceedings for grant of permanent alimony at any stage, ensuring continued access to financial support in times of need even after the dissolution of marriage. It clarifies that a court does not become “functus officio” – without further force or authority – upon issuing the decree of divorce.

“Section 25 of the 1955 Act itself envisages that the wife can initiate proceedings for grant of permanent alimony even after the decree of divorce. Therefore, the court does not become functus officio with the passing of the decree and continues to have jurisdiction to award alimony even thereafter,” the Bench of Justice Sudhir Singh and Justice Harsh Bunger asserted.

The ruling came in a case where a family court “rightly passed” a decree of dissolution of marriage between the parties, but did not grant anything to the wife towards permanent alimony while granting the divorce.

The Bench asserted Section 25’s language made it is clear that a claim was to be made by furnishing an application carrying all details regarding income and other property. An opportunity was also required to be given to the other side to put forth defence.

But the wife in the case had admittedly not filed an application claiming permanent alimony in accordance with Section 25 either before the family or the High Court

“Keeping in view the totality of circumstances and to do justice to the parties, we are of the considered view that while keeping it open to the appellant-wife to institute her claim for grant of permanent alimony before the court of competent jurisdiction, we deem it appropriate to grant some amount towards interim permanent alimony subject to any final decision to be taken by the concerned court on an application to be filed under Section 25 by the appellant-wife,” the Bench asserted.

The court asserted a fixed arithmetic formula could not be applied while granting permanent alimony due to the absence of mathematical precision. The determination of alimony was required to consider various factors.

Granting an interim permanent alimony of Rs 3 lakh, the Bench also emphasised its responsibility to ensure that the wife maintained a standard of living that upheld dignity and comfort, devoid of destitution.”

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