[S. 19 of Hindu Adoptions & Maintenance Act] “Widow” would include minor grandchildren staying with mother: Punjab & Haryana HC

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Section 19 of the Act states that a Hindu wife shall be entitled to be maintained after the death of her husband by her father-in-law, if she is unable to maintain herself out of her own earnings or other property.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently opined that the word “widow” under Section 19 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 would include the minor grandchildren who are staying with their mother for the purpose of grant of maintenance.

The bench of Justice Anil Kshetarpal thus dismissed the revision petition filed by a man against the order of the Family Court directing him to pay the maintenance pendente lite @ Rs. 2,000 each to his three grandchildren.

Moving the recision plea before the high court, the counsel for the petitioner had contended that Section 19 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 entitles only the widow daughter-in-law to file an application. 

There is no provision for directing the petitioner to pay the maintenance to the grandchildren, he argued. 

However, the court held that the 1956 Act is a beneficial legislation enacted in order to take care of the destitute daughter-in-law who, on account of unfortunate circumstances, becomes a widow.

Therefore, the court opined that the provision is also meant for the grandchildren who stay with their mother after the father's demise. 

Accordingly, the high court refused to interfere with the decision of the Family Court and dismissed the instant revision petition. 

Case Title: Hari Ram Hans v. Smt. Deepali and Others