The Supreme Court of India in its recent decision held that a benchmark of 25% of the net salary of a husband was held to be a "just and proper" amount as alimony to his former wife.
he Supreme Court noted that the amount of permanent alimony awarded must be befitting the status of the parties and the capacity of the spouse to pay maintenance. It has stated that "maintenance is always dependent on the factual situation of the case and the court would be justified in moulding the claim for maintenance passed on various factors". In order to reach a benchmark rate for payment of permanent alimony, the Supreme Court relied on its past decision wherein it was held that 25% of the net income of the husband is a "just and proper" amount as alimony.
Although the reasoning of the Supreme Court in the above decision can be appreciated for the logic being applied in tandem with the circumstances and facts of the case; the Court has shied away from revisiting the rationale to adopt the 25% benchmark. In the Dr Kulbhushan Kumar case, the learned Bench, while referring to an older case3, wherein 25% of the income of a deceased husband's estate was payable as maintenance to his wife, itself acknowledged that there was no principle behind the determination of this proportion of "25%".
The alimony, i.e., one time settlement , if given at the time of divorce cannot be retrieved for any reason.
If she gets employment subsequently then the monthly maintenance can be sought to be reviewed due to change in circumstances.