The Hindu Married Women’s Right to Separate Residence and Maintenance Act, 1946: Empowering Hindu Married Women


The Hindu Married Women’s Right to Separate Residence and Maintenance Act, 1946 is a significant legislation aimed at safeguarding the rights and welfare of Hindu married women in Bangladesh. Enacted during the pre-independence era, this Act recognizes the need to provide legal protection and support to married women who face challenges within their marital homes. Let us delve deeper into the provisions and implications of this pioneering legislation.

Provisions of the Act:

  1. Right to Separate Residence: The Act grants Hindu married women the right to claim a separate residence from their husbands under certain circumstances. If the husband is guilty of desertion, cruelty, or any other form of marital misconduct, the wife can seek a separate residence without forfeiting her right to maintenance.
  2. Right to Maintenance: The Act also ensures that Hindu married women are entitled to proper maintenance and financial support from their husbands. If the husband neglects or refuses to maintain his wife, she can approach the court for legal recourse. The court has the authority to order the husband to provide adequate maintenance for his wife’s well-being.
  3. Legal Protection: The Act serves as a legal shield for married women by offering them protection against abandonment, cruelty, and neglect. It empowers them to seek justice and remedies in situations where they are subjected to mistreatment or denied their rights within the marriage.
  4. Jurisdiction: The Act provides guidelines regarding the jurisdiction and legal procedures for a wife to initiate legal proceedings against her husband. It enables women to approach the appropriate court based on their place of residence or where the husband resides.

Implications and Significance:

  1. Empowering Women: The Act is a significant step towards empowering Hindu married women by recognizing their right to a dignified life within marriage. It acknowledges their need for separate residence and maintenance, ensuring their well-being and financial stability.
  2. Protecting Against Marital Harassment: The Act acts as a deterrent against marital harassment and mistreatment. It serves as a legal tool for women to assert their rights and seek redressal in cases of cruelty, abandonment, or neglect by their husbands.
  3. Social Change: The Act has played a pivotal role in bringing about a positive social change by challenging prevailing patriarchal norms and ensuring gender equality within Hindu marriages. It recognizes the importance of women’s rights and seeks to address the power imbalances that exist within marital relationships.
  4. Legal Awareness and Access: The Act has contributed to increasing legal awareness among Hindu married women regarding their rights. It encourages them to seek legal remedies and provides a legal framework for their protection.


The Hindu Married Women’s Right to Separate Residence and Maintenance Act, 1946 remains a significant piece of legislation that upholds the rights and dignity of Hindu married women in Bangladesh. It has paved the way for social change, empowering women to claim their right to a separate residence and maintenance. By recognizing the importance of women’s rights within marriage, this Act has played a crucial role in promoting gender equality and ensuring the well-being of married women.



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