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Can wife claim husband’s paternal property or ask maintenance

By Shivendra Pratap Singh

In the Hindu religion, a wife can claim the husband’s parental property or ask maintenance. Spouses have a 6 yrs old son. Husband is a doctor but has not earned it for 4 yrs because of OCD. Husband and wife stay with his parents in a joint family.

Question from: Gujrat

According to the Hindu personal law, a wife has no right in the property of her husband. She neither has a right in the self-acquired property nor in the ancestral property. Wife has only one right i.e. to claim maintenance against her husband. If her husband has no sufficient means then she cannot get maintenance from him. 

Therefore, you have no right of either ownership or possession over the matrimonial home. So far as your son is concerned, he is a coparcener in his joint family property.  Hence, he has the right in his ancestral property. But he cannot claim partition during the life of his father or “Karta” of the ancestral property. 

Right to maintenance

You can claim maintenance from your husband for yourself and for your son. If the husband has sufficient means but refuses or neglects to maintain then you can seek maintenance under section 125 of the code of criminal procedure (crpc). 

Your husband has not been working for the last four years. In this situation, you cannot prove that he has sufficient means. However, a husband has the responsibility to maintain his wife and dependants but this is not absolute liability. It is confined to the financial capability of the husband. He is a qualified doctor but has not been working, so he can refuse to give maintenance due to financial paucity. 

In this situation, you will get very nominal maintenance. The Hindu personal law follows a separate property regime, therefore, spouses do not have a share in each other’s property. Where both spouses jointly contribute to the property but one spouse holds title to it, the other spouse will have no right to the property.

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