The Madras High Court ruled on April 21 that the mother of a divorced woman is entitled to arrears of alimony if she dies. The Single Chamber of Judge V Sivagnanam heard the petition from Jaya of Cheyyur in Chengalpattu district of Tamil Nadu demanding arrears of alimony owed by her former husband Annadurai to their late daughter Saraswathi.
Annadurai and Saraswathi were married in 1991. The couple later separated and divorced in 2005 at Munsif-cum-Judicial Magistrate District Court in Cheyyur. After the divorce, Saraswathi filed an application for alimony. In 2021, the court ordered Annadurai to pay Rs 7,500 a month from 2014. However, months after the court ordered Annadurai to pay child support, Saraswathi passed away in June 2021.
After Saraswathi’s death, Jaya filed an application for alimony arrears of Rs.6,22,500 from Annadurai. Although the court in Madhuranthakam, Chengalpattu district, granted her application and ruled that Jaya was entitled to arrears of child support, Annadurai appealed the decision. He brought an action before the Madras High Court.
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Judge Sivagnanam, who heard the case, stated that under Section 15 of the Hindu Succession Act, if the woman dies, her property passes to the children. If there are no children, the husband is entitled to their property, followed by the parents. Since Saraswathi had no children from her marriage and her brother had died, the court ruled that her mother was entitled to the arrears.
Bar and Bench reported that the Supreme Court found that the lower court’s order did not constitute a flaw and that Annadurai’s criminal appeal was unfounded. “In light of Section 15(1)(c) of the Hindu Succession Act, the mother is entitled to her daughter’s property – in this case the arrears of alimony accrued up to the death of her daughter Saraswathi. Hence the learned judges [of the Madhuranthakam court] has rightly claimed against the mother of the deceased daughter in the application for maintenance arrears. “There is no defect in the issued order,” Judge Sivagnanam ruled.
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