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Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act Section 18–21

Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act–Right of Hindu Wife to Maintenance (Section 18–21)

1. Earlier the male-dominated society of our country didn’t allow any improvement in the status of married women. A lot of men were committing violence against defenceless women. To overcome this disability of our society The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956 along with the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, the Hindu Succession Act 1956, and the Hindu Guardians & Wards Act 1956 has been enacted to empower the married women of our state. 
Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act Section 18–21

Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act

2. According to Hindu law, marriage is a holy union for performing religious duties. These laws protect a woman by guaranteeing her fundamental rights, providing relief in case of cruelty, adultery, impotency, the claim of maintenance and alimony, etc. it further allows maintenance to the wife who cannot maintain herself. 

3. The right to maintenance arises from the concept that the head of an undivided family is bound to maintain its members. Section 3(b) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956 defines maintenance as ; 1.  In all cases, provision for food, clothing, residence, education, medical attendance, and treatment. 2.  In the case of an unmarried daughter, also the reasonable expenses of an incident to her marriage. 

 4. Section 18 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act 1956 deals with the maintenance of the wife when she decides to live separately. This section specifies that a Hindu wife whether married before or after the enactment of this act is entitled to be maintained by her husband throughout her lifetime if she decides to live separately and is unable to maintain herself. 

5. A Hindu wife is entitled to live separately and claim maintenance in the following situations; 

1.  If her husband is guilty of desertion and had left her without giving any justification. 

2.  If the wife doesn’t feel safe to live with her husband or her husband treats her with such cruelty that it creates reasonable fear in her mind. 

3.  If her husband suffers from any virulent form of leprosy. 

4.  If her husband is having any kind of affair or has any other wife living. 

5.  If her husband decides to change his religion. 

5. It is to be noted that a Hindu wife is not entitled to separate residence and maintenance if she is unchaste or ceases to be Hindu by conversion to another religion. 

6. Section 19 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956 states that a widowed daughter-in-law shall be entitled to be maintained by her father-in-law. It specifies that a Hindu wife, whether married before or after this act is entitled to get maintenance after the death of her husband by her father-in-law provided that she is unable to maintain herself out of her earnings or other property such as the estate of her husband or her father or mother. 

7. In the future, if the daughter-in-law remarries then any such obligation will cease and she will not be entitled to claim any further maintenance. 

8. Section 20 deals with the maintenance of children and aged parents. Under section 20 not only the father but also the mother is legally bound to maintain her son or illegitimate son. 

9. Children shall be entitled to maintenance until they cease to be a minor or until they attain the age of 18. A daughter can claim maintenance until she marries. 

10. Section 21 of the Hindu Marriage and Adoption Act deals with the rights of the dependents of the deceased to claim maintenance from the heir of the deceased.  

11. Section 21 defined the following as dependents; 

1. Father of the deceased.
2. Mother of the deceased.
3. Widow of the deceased as long as she does not remarry.
4. Son, grandson, great-grandson of the deceased provided he is a minor and cannot get maintenance.
5. Unmarried daughter, granddaughter or great-granddaughter of the deceased provided she is unmarried and cannot get maintenance.
6. Widowed daughter of the deceased provided she cannot get maintenance from her husband.
7. Any widow of the deceased son or grandson provided she does not remarry and cannot get maintenance from her husband.
8. The illegitimate son of the deceased provided he is a minor.
9. The illegitimate daughter of the deceased provided she is unmarried. 

The Law bound the heirs of the deceased Hindu to maintain the dependents of the deceased out the assets inherited by them from the deceased.



This article is written for educational purposes, this is not for any kind of advertisement of the writer.


  1. Very helpful for common people like me who have very little knowledge of law.

    1. Thank you very much for giving your time to read my article.


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