High court advocates

Punjab & Haryana High Court Advocates for Balanced Maintenance

In a recent ruling, the Punjab & Haryana High Court has taken a significant step toward ensuring fairness in maintenance awards in matrimonial disputes. The court emphasized the importance of striking a balance in maintenance cases, aiming to avoid unnecessary hardship for either party and uphold the principle of equity.

Equitable and Realistic Maintenance

Justice Harpreet Singh Brar, presiding over the case, stressed that maintenance granted under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) should be both justifiable and realistic. This approach ensures that dependent spouses receive reasonable support without imposing excessive financial strain on the other party. The ruling recognizes the delicate balance courts must achieve when determining maintenance amounts, avoiding scenarios where support is either too low or excessively generous.

Addressing Common Challenges

The court acknowledged common issues in maintenance cases, such as the tendency for wives to amplify their needs and for husbands to conceal their actual income. Such challenges can make it difficult to determine fair and equitable maintenance amounts. Justice Brar highlighted the need to assess each party’s income and earning capacity fairly, adhering to the principle of “equistatus.” This approach ensures that maintenance decisions are based on a comprehensive understanding of each party’s financial situation.

Importance of Legislative Intent

Justice Brar emphasized the legislative intent behind Section 125 CrPC, which aims to provide timely assistance and social justice to women, children, and infirm parents. This goal aligns with constitutional provisions such as Article 15(3) and Article 39, which advocate for the protection of vulnerable groups and promote social justice. By upholding these principles, the court seeks to provide a legal framework that supports the most vulnerable individuals in society.

Coordinating Maintenance Awards

The High Court also stressed the importance of considering other maintenance allowances granted under different statutes. This coordination ensures that any existing awards are set off against new maintenance orders, preventing overlapping payments and promoting fairness. The court’s decision aligns with the Supreme Court’s directions in Rajnesh vs. Neha and Another (2021), which calls for consistency and clarity in maintenance rulings.

Setting Off Maintenance Awards

The case in question involved a revision plea from a man who challenged the Family Court’s maintenance order. He argued that the court failed to account for previous maintenance awarded under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act), when granting his wife an interim maintenance of Rs. 15,000 per month under Section 125 CrPC.

In response, the High Court ruled that the maintenance amount of Rs. 7,000 awarded under the DV Act should be set off against the Rs. 15,000 awarded under Section 125 CrPC. This decision aims to promote a fair and just approach to maintenance, avoiding undue financial burden on either party.


The High Court’s decision marks a significant step toward promoting equitable maintenance practices in matrimonial disputes. By providing clear guidance and fostering consistency in maintenance rulings, the court’s judgment serves as a precedent for future cases. This ruling underscores the court’s commitment to balancing the needs and circumstances of each party, ensuring fairness and justice in maintenance cases. As courts continue to navigate these complex matters, this decision serves as a guiding light, fostering a more equitable legal landscape for all parties involved.

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