Legal Advice

How can I claim enhancement in maintenance if husband got promotion and receiving higher salary

Question: I am a divorced woman. I have been receiving 15000 maintenance for 10 years. Over the years my maintenance has remained the same. But due to inflation and price rise I am unable to sustain myself. However, my ex husband who is a professor in a university receives a good sum of money. But still he has not increased my maintenance. I have no children and am not working. How and to whom to apply to increase my maintenance?

Advise

In Vinny Paramvir Parmar v Paramvir Parmar (2011) 13 SCC 112; Rajnesh v. Neha,  (2021) 2 SCC 324 the Supreme Court has held that Various factors must be taken into consideration to determine the appropriate quantum of maintenance to be paid. The Court is obligated to consider the husband’s standard of living, taking into account the escalating inflation rates and the high costs of living. The awarded maintenance amount should be both reasonable and realistic in light of these considerations.

As your husband has been promoted to a higher position and is receiving an increased salary in response to the rising cost of living due to inflation, you are entitled to corresponding increments in your monthly allowance. 

To pursue this, you must approach the court under Section 127 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. You have the right to claim an enhancement of the quantum of maintenance based on the escalating living expenses and changes in circumstances (increment in salary of husband).

In Rajnesh v. Neha and Anr. (2021) 2 SCC 324, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that the Maintenance laws have been enacted as a measure of social justice to provide recourse to dependent wives and children for their financial support, so as to prevent them from falling into destitution and vagrancy.

Therefore, if you are experiencing financial hardship due to the escalating cost of living and find it challenging to maintain a standard of living comparable to that of your husband’s, you have the option to seek an increase in the quantum of maintenance under Section 127 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

Additionally, it is advisable to file an application under Order 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) concurrently with the application under Section 127 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). In this application, you should request your husband to submit his salary slip and bank account statement as evidence of his living standard. This will assist in substantiating your claim for an enhanced maintenance amount based on the changes in his financial circumstances.

Upon substantiating the increase in salary, the court is obligated to reassess and adjust the maintenance amount in light of the changed circumstances.

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow