Saturday, April 2, 2016

MOD panel frowns on increase in awarding maintenance allowance to wives in military

31.3.2016 : A panel of experts of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has slammed the defence services for passing orders granting maintenance allowance to wives of military personnel from their salaries, especially in Army, without due investigation and scrutiny.
The panel, in its report, has criticised the defence services for passing such orders in, essentially, what are private matrimonial disputes. The Army, Navy and the Air Force Acts provide that the competent authority can impose a cut upto 33 per cent on pay and allowances which can be paid to the wife as maintenance on her application. With growing matrimonial disputes, the number of such applications has increased in the last few years especially with the Army granting maintenance to the spouses on almost all applications through non-speaking orders without providing reasons.
An expert committee constituted by the Defence Minister on litigation has however observed that the exceptional provisions are being invoked in a routine manner by defence authorities. It has also found that the system does not have the wherewithal or ability to examine the veracity or truthfulness of the allegations and counter-allegations of both parties which is basically a matter of evidence that can only be weighed and dealt with by civil courts under law legislated for this specific purpose. The panel has said that this exercise can only be carried out under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code and the relevant Marriage Acts, rather than the defence services getting into what may fundamentally be a civil or private dispute between a husband and his wife.
The panel has also observed that even the Army HQ has expressed concern on the issue and that maintenance is meant to tide over a difficult financial situation and not to lead life on someone else's expense. It has recorded that the award of maintenance results in grave civil consequences for an individual wherein a cut is imposed on his pay and should be taken as a serious matter and not routine. Moreover, it may not be initiated on the fact whether the spouse is working or not but whether she has the capacity to work or not, further adding that a situation cannot be allowed to prevail wherein an otherwise qualified/educated spouse stops working or refuses to take up a job in order to claim maintenance.
The Panel has stated that though defence personnel have a bounden duty to maintain their families, such issues should be left to Courts to decide based on evidence. Surprised at the acceptance of an unusually high number of applications by the Army, the committee has questioned, "does it mean that it was found that out of the total applications received, such a high percentage of officers were found wanting in their familial and marital obligations? If yes, then what were the tools available to reach that conclusion?"
There has been a rise of litigation on the subject in the past. Recently, a Lt Col had averred that his wife held a Doctorate and also working in a real estate firm but still was awarded maintenance by the Army. Another officer had stated that his wife had a degree of MSc as well as BEd and was earning a huge amount from tuitions and he had elderly parents to look after but still deduction of arrears of maintenance had resulted in disbursement of more than Rs 30,000 to the wife per month while he was being disbursed a amount of just Rs 6000. Another serving Colonel had stated that was being expected put his earnings at the disposal of his wife who was fully qualified and competent to work and was actually working.
(Source- The Indian Express e-paper)


  1. Dear sir,

    alimony is subject matter of legal wing, not to be given on misplaced sympathy, the spouses those who are having sound financial resources need not to be given maintenance allowance, the matter should be verified and confirmed in the civil court, no power in army is having to deal that matrimonial dispute, wrong practice should be ceased at any cost

  2. We the officers in the armed forces especially in army axing on our own fate by neglecting our own laws and discipline. If officers can't look after their wives and go against the social responsibilities how can they command their jawans who are having similar marital/matrimonial problems. MOD (the civilian babus) are taking advantage of some officers who failed to look after their wives and got involved in disciplinary cases under the armed forces laws. Even in our organisation IO is at liberty to endorse remark in ACR about the cordial relations between officer and his wife which is taken as serious issue in the organisation. Army is right granting maintenance to wives who are neglected by their husbands in service. It is wrong on the part of MOD and the babus to extend their jaws on the discipline and disciplinary matters of the armed forces. A jawan or officer of the armed forces who is mentally upset because of wife and other family issues can not fight the war but an IAS babu can function in his office even his wife creates en number of problems. Let MOD be addressed that let the armed forces maintain their own discipline, if MOD pokes their head in armed forces discipline then let the MOD take over the duties from the armed forces and relieve the armed forces for their duties.

    1. dear sir i am a serving officerwho is also suffering the same problem. if somebody is doing something good for an offr who has no say in the org for such cases then please dont interfare. in civil court atleast i can open up against the hardship i m facing because of my wife... here in our org everything is pre-determined. even if you give evidence that she is earning still she gets claim. if you ate so capable to judge this then why dont you start accepting applicatiins for Divorce also?

  3. Dear colonel you are very right in supporting neglected life partner, but that should be verified and examined in civil court, really they are deserving for the maintenance allowance. two cases of suspecting infidelity of army jawans wives came to my knowledge, in one case a lady of army jawan has got her civil teacher job and completely neglected the jawan and cohabiting with some one else, and another case a lady wive after attaining phd degree abandoned her husband only to marry another suitable candidate in parity with her profession and status completely having forgotten her husbands sacrifice

  4. Dear Karunakaran a, in both cases which you quoted in your comment, the husbands are at liberty to apply for divorce as they have been neglected by their wives which is known as breach of social marriage agreement. Why should the jawans who are neglected by their wives should pay maintenance allowance to wives instead they must apply for divorce. During process of divorce papers in any court and after divorce for the reasons of wife deserting husband no maintenance allowances are to be paid by the army/navy/airforce under their laws. The cases which you have quoted are fit for divorce and not for granting maintenance allowance.