No fixed formula can be laid for fixing the amount of alimony. Right to alimony is an incident of the status from an estate of matrimony. While considering a claim for interim maintenance, the court has to keep in mind the status of the parties, reasonable wants of the applicant, the income and property of the applicant.
Conversely, requirements of the non-applicant, the income and property of the non-applicant and additionally the other family members to be maintained by the non-applicant have to be taken into all.
Whilst it is important to ensure that the maintenance awarded to the applicant is sufficient to enable the applicant to live in somewhat the same degree of comfort as in the matrimonial home, but it should not be so exorbitant that the non-applicant is unable to pay.
Maintenance awarded cannot be punitive. It should aid the applicant to live in a similar lifestyle she/he enjoyed in the matrimonial home. It should not expose the non-applicant to unjust contempt or other coercive proceedings. On the other hand, maintenance should not be so low so as to make the order meaningless.
The court has to take a general view. From the various judicial precedents, the under noted 11 factors can be culled out, which are to be taken into consideration while deciding an application under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act. The same are:
- Status of the parties.
- Reasonable wants of the claimant.
- The independent income and property of the claimant.
- The number of persons, the non-applicant has to maintain.
- The amount should aid the applicant to live in a similar lifestyle as he/she enjoyed in the matrimonial home.
- Non-applicant’s liabilities, if any.
- Provisions for food, clothing, shelter, education, medical attendance and treatment etc. of the applicant.
- Payment capacity of the non-applicant.
- Some guesswork is not ruled out while estimating the income of the non-applicant when all the sources or correct sources are not disclosed.
- The non-applicant to defray the cost of litigation.
- The amount awarded under Section 125 Cr.PC is adjustable against the amount awarded under Section 24 of the Act.