Report No. 18
10. Jurisdiction and procedure-Maintenance.-
Coming, next, to the question of jurisdiction of the courts wherein proceedings under the Act should be taken, and the procedure to be followed therein, the proposed legislation will, in general, follow the lines of the law relating to marriage and matrimonial causes among Christians in India. There are, however, two matters which require special mention: (i) alimony and maintenance to the wife in case of divorce, and (ii) custody of children. On the question of maintenance, the proposed legislation will provide,1 as does the law relating to marriage and matrimonial causes among Christians, that the court should have the power to make suitable orders for alimony to the wife so long as she remains unmarried and also to make such orders as regards settlement of property made at the time of the marriage and properties given at that time as to the court might seem just and equitable.
It is also proposed to add a further provision2 that, unless the court decides otherwise, a decree for dissolution of marriage under this Act should be passed only after suitable orders have been made for the maintenance of the wife, the reason being that once a decree for dissolution has been passed, the husband will be free to marry again, and he might thereafter become indifferent and remiss in carrying out his obligations to the divorced wife, and it would work great hardship if she were to be driven to hang on the court for enforcing her rights. If the arrangements for maintenance are completed before a decree for divorce is granted, then it will be merely a question of her realising the fruits of her decree.
1. See Appendix I, clause 13.
2. See Appendix I, clause 13(2).