“Maintenance is known as “nafaqa” which includes the basic necessities of life”, the maintenance under the Muslim Family Law, the husband is responsible to provide the basic necessities to his children even after the termination of wedlock.
Who can get the maintenance?
The daughter can get her maintenance from her birth till her marriage and the son can get from the birth to the age of majority (18-years as per law age of majority). The wife can also get her maintenance as on the following grounds or even till the end of Iddat period after the termination of wedlock or divorce;
- If the husband kicked off his wife from the house without reasonable ground, and the wife still in his wedlock.
- If the husband does not maintain equitably in polygamy.
- If the husband fails to maintain adequately.
The wife can file a suit for her own maintenance as well as for her minors (if any), and also file the case even on behalf of the minor children;
Suit for Maintenance:
Under the Family Court Act, 1964, the suit for maintenance should be decided by the family court as follow;
- That the defendant should be duty-bound to pay the interim monthly maintenance fixed by the court. Whereas, the Family Court has the jurisdiction / bound to summon the defendant to appear before the court on very next hearing. At the next hearing of the Family Court, the interim monthly maintenance will be fixed for the wife and the child(ren). If the defendant may not appear before the court or fails to pay the maintenance as in the stipulated time period then the Family Court is authorized to stuck off the defense right of the defendant. It is pertinent to mention here that, the Family Court may pass the decree on the basis of the available record/documents in favor of the Plaintiff and against the defendant. But, if the defendant gave a reasonable excuse to the Family Court for his non-appearance and non-payment within the stipulated time period, the Family Court may provide an opportunity to do so.
- If the Family Court pass the decree on the suit for maintenance as follows;
- The Family Court may decide the case on the basis of record/documents provided by the plaintiff that might be based upon the fluctuation and the plaintiff may get the favor of the non-appearance of the defendant.
- The Family Court is also duty-bound to order the defendant for the annual increment minimum at the rate 10 percent or on the basis of the discretionary powers. But if the Family court does not notify about the annual increment in the maintenance, then the maintenance automatically stands increased at the rate of 10 percent annually.
The defendant must appear before the court in person or through counsel for filing the written statement under the Family Court Act, 1964, and may counter the claim of the plaintiff on reasonable grounds. Then the Family Court bound the call the witness from both sides and testify them and decide the case as per available record and evidence. For fixing the maintenance the Family Court may summon any relevant department, organization, authority, or body to provide the evidence to conclude the suit for maintenance.
The maintenance under the Muslim Family Law can be claimed by the Plaintiff while filing the suit for maintenance as mentioned above. The specimen of the suit will be as same as the suit for dissolution of marriage and draft as actual facts and circumstances. The plaintiff may claim the multiple relief in a single plaint. As the plaintiff may claim the maintenance and dissolution of marriage in single plaint.
If the case decree in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant or it’s reciprocal, then both the parties may file the appeal before the District and Session Judge of the district. Whereas, the family law permits to file the writ petition before the honorable High Court against any interim order of the family court. The writ petition specifically is the fastest remedy against interim maintenance. If both the parties not satisfied the order of the Family Court may file the writ petition before the honorable High Court.