(1) A Hindu wife, whether married before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be entitled to be maintained after the death of her husband by her father-in-law:

Provided and to the extent that she is unable to maintain herself out of her own earnings or other property or, where she has no property of her own, is unable to obtain maintenance―

(a) from the estate of her husband or her father or mother, or

(b) from her son or daughter, if any, or his or her estate.

(2) Any obligation under sub-section (1) shall not be enforceable if the father-in-law has not the means to do so from any coparcenary property in his possession out of which the daughter-in- law has not obtained any share, and any such obligation shall cease on the remarriage of the daughter-in-law.

Bullet Points on Section 19 HAMA:

  • A Hindu wife, whether married before or after the Act’s commencement, is entitled to maintenance from her father-in-law after her husband’s death.
  • This entitlement exists when she cannot support herself with her earnings or property, and she cannot obtain maintenance from:
    • Her husband’s or her parents’ estate.
    • Her son’s or daughter’s estate, if applicable.
  • The father-in-law’s obligation is enforceable only if he possesses coparcenary property from which the daughter-in-law has not received any share.
  • This obligation ends upon the daughter-in-law’s remarriage.

Landmark Judgements:

Vimalben Ajitbhai Patel v Vatslabeen Ashokbhai Patel:

“21. Maintenance of a married wife, during subsistence of marriage, is on the husband. It is a personal obligation. The obligation to maintain a daughter-in-law arises only when the husband has died. Such an obligation can also be met from the properties of which the husband is a co-sharer and not otherwise. For invoking the said provision, the husband must have a share in the property. The property in the name of the mother-in-law can neither be a subject matter of attachment nor during the life time of the husband, his personal liability to maintain his wife can be directed to be enforced against such property.”

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