Who Are Entitled To Maintenance Under Hindu Law, And From What Property?

1. Sons:

A father is under personal obligation to maintain his minor sons from the joint family property as well as the separate property of the father in all the schools of Hindu Law. But he is under no obligation to maintain his adult son of his separate property. Under Mitakshara joint family even adult sons are entitled to maintain out of joint family property. A father under the Dayabhaga School is not bound to maintain his adult sons.

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2. Daughters:

A father is bound to maintain his unmarried daughters. On the death of the father, they are entitled to be maintained out of his estate.

3. Grand-Children:

A grand-father is under no personal obligation to maintain his grandsons or grand-daughters. But there is a moral obligation on the part of the grand-father to maintain the predeceased son’s daughters. This moral obligation becomes a legal obligation on the part of those who inherit the grandfather’s property.

4. Parents:

A son is under a personal obligation to main­tain his aged father or mother whether he has inherited any prop­erty or not.

5. Female members of the joint family:

The manager of the joint family is under a legal obligation to maintain the wives and daughters or other members of the coparcenary during and even after the death of the male coparceners.

6. Disqualified heirs:

A disqualified heir is entitled to main­tenance for himself and his family out of the property which he would have inherited but for the disability.

7. Illegitimate sons:

The illegitimate son of a Hindu be­longing to one of the three higher classes is entitled to mainte­nance, firstly, out of the separate property of the father. In cases there is no separate property he will be maintained out of the joint family property.

The illegitimate son of a Sudra is entitled to a share on the death of the father in his separate property. In case he was a member of a joint family, and there was no separate property left by the father illegitimate son is entitled to be maintained out of the joint family property.

The illegitimate son of a Hindu by a non-Hindu woman is not entitled be maintenance under the Hindu Law but he can claim maintenance for the putative father under S.488, Cr .P.C. Simi­larly, the illegitimate daughters of a Hindu can claim mainte­nance under Sec. 488, Cr. P.C. though not under pure Hindu Law.

8. Concubine:

A Hindu is not bound to maintain his con­cubine. But if she was in his exclusive keeping until his death, his estate, in the hands of those who take it, is liable after his death for her maintenance. Her right to maintenance is conditional upon her continued chastity.

9. Wife:

A husband is under a personal obligation to main­tain his wife quite independent of the possession by the husband of any property. The maintenance being a matter of personal obli­gation, she has no claims for maintenance against her husband’s property in the hands of a transferee from him.

The doctrine of maintenance to the wife sprang from her mat­rimonial tie and obligates the husband to maintain his wife during his lifetime regardless of his possessing any property. The moral obligation of the husband to maintain his wife enunciated under the Hindu Texts and Commentaries was made a legal liability since it arose under the very nature of the relationship existed between the Hindu male member and the dependents. [T.S. Mahalaxamma v. M.D. Prasad, A.i.r. 1984 NOC 265 AP).

10. Widow:

A widow who does not succeed to the estate of her husband as his heir, is entitled to maintenance out of her husband’s separate property and also out of the joint family prop­erty in which her husband was a coparcener at the time of his death.