ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Conjugality, Property, Morality and Maintenance

Indian matrimonial statutes do not provide for division of property upon divorce and for most women the right to maintenance forms the central core of their matrimonial dispute. During legal contests the focus is on the husband's "obligation" and the wife's "need" but situated within the patriarchal order, the right to maintenance is pitted against issues of sexuality and "sexual purity". The right also comes into conflict within the mandate of a monogamous marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act. Even if the theory of property distribution based on the model of equality is accepted, women's needs and dependence will not cease since marriage in India continues to be an unequal partnership with gendered roles. Therefore, though maintenance signifies dependency and reduces the wife to a subordinate position, divorced women are justified in claiming it. Flavia

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