What are the Rights of a Widowed Daughter-In-Law to be maintained by Her Father-In-Law?

Suppose the son died divided from his father leaving a widow. Then under the pre-existing Law the widow had only a moral right to maintenance against her father-in-law. Now she would have a legal right provided certain conditions are satisfied viz.—

(i) Father-in-law has coparcenary property in his hand.

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(ii) Daughter-in-law is unable to provide for herself by her own earnings or from her own property.

(iii) She is unable to secure maintenance from the estate of her husband, father or mother.

(iv) She is unable to secure maintenance from her own children or from the estate of her children.

This legal obligation of the father-in-law ceases if the daughter- in-law remarries.

Even when the father-in-law has no coparcenary property in his hands, he would still be under a moral obligation to maintain his needy daughter-in- law. The moral obligation ripens into a legal obligation upon his death, so that those who take his estate by inheritance or under his will would be legally bound to maintain her out of that estate. This is provided for in s. 21 and s. 22.

One of the conditions for father-in-law to maintain the daughter- in-law under s. 19 is that the daughter-in-law is not able to maintain herself from the estate of her parents. In this connection a clear finding is necessary whether her parents have estate sufficient to maintain her and the circumstances under which she is unable to maintain herself or by her parents. Therefore, the parents are required to be heard failing which the findings will not bind them. Raj Kishore Mishra v. Smt. Meena Mishra, AIR 1995 All. 70.

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