Know The Law

Laws for paying alimony to working women in India.

What is Alimony money?

The right to seek financial support for post-divorce maintenance was not a concept that Indian divorce seekers, especially women, were very familiar with a few years ago, even though alimony is a highly significant issue to deal with throughout the litigation of a divorce case. The era of feminist initiatives and the expansion of women's education has led to the expanding use of alimony in divorce cases.

The indissoluble character of marriage led to the rise in the popularity of alimony. Marriage standards state that a marriage is a sacred relationship. Even if the husband and wife are emotionally or physically apart, once the knot is tied, the commitments of marriage must be upheld for the rest of one's life. Despite their estranged relationship, the husband is still required to take care of his wife. As time went on, laws and education gave women more authority, and divorce became a common solution to an unhappy marriage.

Because men and women are treated equally in today's society, the expense of alimony can now be split between the parties based on their financial circumstances. Even though men and women are treated equally under the law in this day and age, males are more likely to be required to support their ex-spouse while the case is in court.

Whom do you call working women?

Alimony and maintenance were not formerly awarded to working women in India; however, many developments and rules have made it simpler for a working wife to obtain alimony in light of our society's social and economic changes, as well as the trajectory of women working. Women who, although working and earning money, are unable to cover their costs and satisfy their necessities may seek alimony from their spouses.

When we refer to a working woman, we imply someone who is self-sufficient in terms of money and capable of taking care of her necessities. Married working women, however, occasionally do not make enough money to cover their requirements and are forced to rely on their spouses. These women are eligible to receive alimony payments in a certain amount.

Women experience many difficulties after a divorce because they lack the support system that existed in their marital home. As a result, the husband is obligated to provide for his wife, and even if she works, she is still entitled to the same level of living as before. The main cause of a working wife's upkeep is the numerous problems and lack of conveniences she faces when she leaves her marital house. As a result, she finds some consolation in receiving alimony as financial support.

Laws related to alimony in India:

The Supreme Court declared in Kalyan Dey Chowdhury VS. Rita Dey Chowdhury that alimony payments cannot total more than 25% of the husband's monthly wage. In this instance, the wife earned 30,000 per month working as both a beautician and a teacher.

In Smt. Nidhi V Shri Nishant Dubey, the husband was a sales manager, while the woman was a physiotherapist who owned a clinic. The court decided in the wife's favor and granted her Rs 100,000 in alimony.

Section 125 of CrPC allows maintenance:

The maintenance requirements of the Code of Criminal Procedure apply to people of all religions and do not influence the parties' laws. The maintenance process is not to punish people for past neglect, but rather to prevent starvation and crime by requiring those who can support persons who are unable to support themselves.

According to Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the husband must give the wife enough alimony to allow her to live a respectable life if she is incapable due to justifiable circumstances. Even if the wife is employed and continues to request alimony after the divorce, she may be granted it if the judge rules in her favor. In this context, "wife" refers to a woman who has not remarried after being.

According to the code, a wife may receive maintenance if she is unable to support herself. Appropriate food, clothing, and shelter are necessary for maintenance. The word "unable to maintain oneself" does not suggest that the person must be completely penniless, on the streets, begging, or wearing torn clothing. The upkeep must be calculated in consideration of the individual's lifestyle.

The maintenance should not be significantly lower than the status she was used to at her husband's workplace, and it should be sufficient to allow the lady to support herself. Working women may also ask their husbands for alimony if the court determines that their earnings are less than their husbands. The money is used to keep her husband's standard of living up to par.

Domestic Violence Act, 2005:

Section 20(1)[8] of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 discusses the notion of Monetary Relief. Recent decisions under these provisions of the legislation state that no monetary remedy under section 20 of the act can be awarded until domestic abuse are proven. The high court recently declared that if a woman fails to show domestic violence by her husband, her children cannot be granted monetary remedy under the Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act.

The court stated in Vimla v. Veeraswamy that the fundamental intent of Section 125 of the Code is to achieve social objectives. The purpose is to put an end to begging and homelessness. It provides an immediate solution to the destitute wife's demand for food, clothing, and shelter. There is a widespread misconception that if a working woman earns money, she cannot claim maintenance since she can support herself.

The Indian courts have recognized the right of a working woman to maintain, ruling that an estranged wife can seek maintenance from her husband even if her monthly payment is insufficient to support herself. As a result, a working wife is entitled to maintenance.

The case of Savita Bhanot v. V.D Bhanot, brought under the Domestic Violence Act, was maintainable even if the act of domestic violence was committed earlier than the Act's enactment.

According to Asha Menon, J. of the Delhi High Court, the right to request maintenance under the Domestic Violence Act and those under Section 125 CrPC are not mutually incompatible. This indicates that the harmed party may request temporary maintenance before the Magistrate in addition to permanent maintenance under Section 125 CrPC.

Hindu Marriage Act:

The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 addresses temporary and ongoing alimony in Section 24. The requirement to pay maintenance and court costs for the duration of proceedings cannot be avoided, regardless of what happens in the petition after an order under this Article is made. The expenditures of the proceedings and support pendente lite are discussed in Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Maintenance in this context refers to providing a dependent spouse with their basic requirements, and pendente lite is a Latin phrase that means "while an action is pending" or "while litigation continues." Therefore, it is clear that "maintenance pendente lite" refers to paying the spouse's living expenses and financial support while a lawsuit is ongoing (either the woman or the husband).

The Hon'ble Supreme Court ruled in the 2003 case of Amarjit Kaur v. Harbhajan Singh that the primary requirement for the award of maintenance pendente lite is by determining whether the spouse seeking such interim maintenance has independent income sufficient for their support. The only decision the court retains authority over is the amount of any interim support if it is demonstrated that the other spouse does not have sufficient income.

Muslim Marriage Act 1939 And Protection Of Rights Of Divorce 1986:

It cannot be argued that the Court lacks jurisdiction to grant such relief if it is incidental to the claim made and the Court finds it necessary to do so, simply because "The Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939" does not mention that the Court is also having the jurisdiction or power to grant such relief. In addition, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act of 1986 grants the wife and minor children the right to maintenance in addition to the right that minor children have under Muslim Law to receive maintenance from the father.

Code of Criminal Procedure or the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Divorce Act of 1986 governs alimony for Muslims. The act's clause stipulates that the wife will get a payment (fair and reasonable) during her Iddat term. A sum equal to mehr or dower that was agreed upon at the start of a marriage. Every one of the gifts given to her by the husband's family members before, during, or after their union. If the woman has not remarried and is unable to support herself after the Iddat period, she is eligible for maintenance. when a wife has children but is unable to care for them.

Christian Indian Divorce Act 1869:

The wife may submit a petition for alimony pending suit in any action brought under this Act, regardless of whether the husband of the wife brought the action or not and regardless of whether the wife has an order of protection. Such a petition must be filed on the husband, and the court may order the husband to pay the wife alimony while the case is pending if it finds the petition to be true: In the event of a divorce or declaration of nullity, alimony must continue until the final judgment is reached or is affirmed, but it must never exceed one-fifth of the husband's average net income for the three years before to the date of the order.


Over the years, rules relating to maintenance and alimony have undergone several changes in statutory requirements. As a result, a working woman in India is also entitled to alimony based on her post-divorce living situation, way of life, status, and place in society. Most crucially, while giving alimony, attention is given to the woman's ability to support herself even after earning money. 

In several instances, the Supreme Court of India has ruled that a woman can request alimony even while she makes an effort to earn a monthly salary if that sum is insufficient to cover her needs. In rare circumstances where a working husband is not working and is inventing justifications to avoid paying alimony, a working wife may additionally demand child support from her husband.