Monday, October 4, 2010

Should the other woman in a man’s life get maintenance? SC to decide

The Supreme Court is set to decide whether the "other woman" in a man's life can also be granted maintenance under existing laws. Under the present scenario, only legally married wives (besides minor children and parents) are entitled to maintenance under Section 125 of CrPC.

A bench headed by Justice Markandeya Katju found no justifying reason for denial of maintenance: "Why a woman who has spent her life with a man is denied the right of maintenance, in case she is deserted by him." He said existing laws in India do not recognize it but there is no reason to deny it.

Citing the decision of a California court with regard to palimony, Justice Katju, who was on the bench with Justice T S Thakur, observed, "It may be true that under Section 125 Cr PC, she may not be entitled to maintenance but you spent time with her for 14 years. There was a ruling by a California court in the case titled Marwin Vs Marwin where the court ordered that palimony should be paid even if the woman is not legally married."

The judge went on to explain that the term "palimony" originated from the word "pals" under which such a relationship was a sort of contract even if it was an oral agreement.

The bench was hearing an appeal filed by D Velusamy who had moved the court against an order of a Tamil Nadu court asking him to pay a maintenance of Rs 500 to D Patchaiammal who claimed she was married to him in 1986.

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