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Report No. 73

1.2. Disobedience to decree or order for maintenance or alimony to be made punishable.-

The Commission has given consideration to the above suggestion and is not in favour of treating failure to obtain prior permission of the court before stoppage of payment of maintenance or alimony as contempt of court punishable with imprisonment. At the same time, the Commission is not unaware of the tendency on the part of the husbands to stop payment of alimony or maintenance even though a decree or an order for this purpose has been made in favour of their wives1.

To prevent such a course, the Commission would recommend that if a decree or order for the payment of maintenance or permanent alimony is made against the husband in favour of his wife by a court of justice and the husband, having sufficient means to comply with such decree or order, contumaciously disobeys such order, he shall, except in the cases hereafter mentioned2, be liable to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period which may extend to six months and shall also be liable to pay fine up to twice the amount of arrears of maintenance or permanent alimony, and in no case less than the amount of arrears of maintenance or permanent alimony.

The punishment for such an offence ought to be rigorous imprisonment, so that the added provision may act as a deterrent. In addition, the offence should be compulsorily punishable with fine. Out of the fine, the wife should be awarded the arrears of maintenance or permanent alimony. The reasons for such a change in the substantive law will be presently set out3-4.

1. At to the expression "alimony", see marginal note to section 25, Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

2. See para. 1.6, infra.

3. Para. 1.4, infra.

4. For procedural amendments, see Chapters 2-3, infra.

Criminal Liability for failure by Husband to Pay Maintenance or Permanent Alimony certain to the Wife by the Court under Certain Enactments or Rules of Law Back

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