Mumbai: A Hindu woman, who marries an already-married man, cannot claim maintenance later, the Bombay High Court has ruled.
A division bench of Justices AP Deshpande and R P Sondurbaldota held that such a woman cannot claim maintenance under the Hindu Marriage Act, or even the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act (HAMA).
A second marriage (when the first spouse is alive) is null and void in Hindu law, the High Court emphasised.
One Rekha (name changed) had moved the High Court after the family court rejected her demand of maintenance. She had claimed maintenance from her husband under HAMA on the ground that he had another wife.
Under HAMA, a woman can live separately from husband and seek maintenance if he has any other wife living. Her lawyer claimed that Rekha was legally wedded, and
her marriage had been registered with the registrar of marriage.
However, the division bench put the finger on the law, and held that her marriage was void from the start, she did not enjoy the status of wife under the Hindu Marriage Act, and was not entitled to maintenance under HAMA too.
The court also observed that Rekha was married "with full knowledge that he (husband) was already married and that his first wife is living. In the circumstances, she cannot lay
any claim to sympathy."