'Second wives can claim maintenance'

'Second wives can claim maintenance'

'Second wives can claim maintenance'

A legally wedded wife can claim maintenance and alimony under the Hindu Marriage Act and she is also entitled to a share in the family property. But a second wife cannot claim her legal rights unless the man has divorced his first wife.

The ruling of the High Court that second wife can claim maintenance from her husband under the Domestic Violence Act of 2005 has been welcomed in legal circles.
In the recent judgement, Justice A B Choudhary rejected the maintenance claim of a Nagpur-based housewife Manda Thaore under CrPC but asked her to move a court under Domestic Violence Act to seek maintenance, accommodation and benefits from the man who married her 27 years back.

The judge also directed her husband Ramaji Thaore to pay a compensation of Rs 15,000 to Manda to cover her legal expenses so that she could prosecute him under the Act.
"To my mind it is clear that the husband has treated Manda as if she was his wife (but it was second marriage)," Justice Choudhary observed.

"It is no doubt true that Ramji had cheated Manda and kept sexual relationships with her resulting in the birth of two children, but then as has been held by Supreme Court, no estoppel can operate against the Law and therefore, despite holding that there has been close relationship between the two and that Ramji treated her like wife and had children, this court cannot help Manda in getting maintenance," he remarked.
"It is for some other authority to take care of the situation in such type of unfortunate cases as this Court is unable to do anything in the matter.

"However, this is a fit case for Manda to have recourse to the provisions of the new beneficial Act, namely, the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and proceed against her husband under the said Act for claiming accommodation, maintenance," he said.

Ramji married Praba in 1965 and they were blessed with three daughters. In 1983, he married Manda who used to be a maid in his house. He had two children with Manda.
In 2005, Manda moved a family court to seek maintenance but her plea was rejected. Aggrieved, she moved the High Court.

Ramji opposed her plea saying as Manda was his second wife and he had not divorced his first wife Prabha, she could not claim maintenance from him.