Divorced wife living in adultery is disqualified to claim maintenance under S. 125 CrPC

Madras High Court: While considering an interesting issue that whether a woman, against
whom a decree of divorce had been passed on ground of adultery, is entitled to
claim maintenance under Section 125 of CrPC, the bench of S. Nagamuthu, J.,
held that a divorced wife, who lives in adultery is disqualified from claiming
maintenance under Section 125 of CrPC. Further elaborating the Court observed
that, if a wife during the subsistence of her marriage
and after divorce continues to live in adultery, she loses her right to claim

The present criminal revision challenged
the Order of the Principal District and Sessions Judge who directed the
petitioner to pay a sum of Rs.1,000 per month towards the respondent’s
maintenance. The counsel for the petitioner, G.R. Swaminathan contended that,
once the Civil Court
has granted decree for divorce on the ground that the wife was living in
adultery, then as per Section 125 (4) CrPC, she loses her right to claim
maintenance from her former husband. Opposing the petition, G.P Rajadurai
contended that the term ‘adultery’ as existing in Section 125 (4) of CrPC
refers to commission of the deed while the marriage is still subsisting,
whereas a divorced wife is perfectly at liberty to choose her way of sexual

The Court on perusing the contentions and the concerned
statutory provisions, observed that for the purposes of Chapter IX and Section
125 of CrPC, the meaning of the term ‘wife’ cannot be confined only to the wife
whose marriage is in subsistence. The Court further observed that after
divorce, if a wife wants to retain her right to claim maintenance, then she has
to maintain the same standards of discipline that she was supposed to maintain
when her marriage was in existence. The Court further stated that as much as a
husband is duty bound  to provide
maintenance to his wife after divorce, a wife has an equivalent duty to not to
have an illicit relationship with another man. A breach of this obligation by a
wife tends to disqualify her from claiming maintenance. Analyzing the issue,
the Court stated that a wife suffering from the disqualification to claim
maintenance on ground of adultery continues to remain disqualified for the same
even after a divorce decree has been passed. [M. Chinna Karuppasamy v. Kanimozhi, decided on 16.07.2015] 
Source: Legal news India