125 CrPC: Explanation, Maintenance, Format, Cases, etc.

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Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, in India, deals with the provision for maintenance of wives, children, and parents. It is a legal mechanism aimed at preventing vagrancy and destitution by compelling those with sufficient means to support those within their family who are unable to maintain themselves.

Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), plays a pivotal role in the Indian legal framework by providing a means of legal recourse for the maintenance of wives, children, and parents who are unable to support themselves. This provision is a testament to the Indian judiciary's commitment to ensuring a measure of social justice and preventing destitution among the most vulnerable sections of society.

Designed as a secular provision, Section 125 transcends religious and personal laws, applying universally to all individuals, regardless of their religious beliefs. Its primary objective is to prevent vagrancy and destitution by obliging individuals with sufficient means to provide support to their dependent family members who are in need. This includes providing maintenance to wives who are unable to maintain themselves, legitimate or illegitimate minor children, legitimate or illegitimate adult children who are physically or mentally incapacitated, and aged parents.

The mechanism of Section 125 Crpc is crucial because it offers a quick and relatively straightforward legal remedy for those seeking maintenance, which is essential in cases where immediate financial support is needed. It empowers magistrates of the first class to order monthly maintenance allowances, ensuring that basic needs such as food, shelter, and healthcare can be met.

Moreover, the provision underscores the importance of gender equality and social welfare by acknowledging the needs of divorced or separated women and ensuring that they are not left destitute or vulnerable due to the breakdown of marriage. It also reflects a progressive approach towards recognizing the rights and dignities of individuals who might otherwise be marginalized due to traditional or cultural practices.

In essence, Section 125 of the CrPC is a reflection of the Indian legal system's commitment to upholding the principles of justice, equality, and human dignity by providing a safety net for those in need, thereby reinforcing the foundational values of the Indian Constitution.

125 CrPC: Explanation, Maintenance, Format, Cases, etc.

What is Section 125 CrPC?

The text of Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), dealing with the provision of maintenance of wives, children, and parents, is as follows:

125. Order for maintenance of wives, children and parents.—(1) If any person having sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain—

(a) his wife, unable to maintain herself, or

(b) his legitimate or illegitimate minor child, whether married or not, unable to maintain itself, or

(c) his legitimate or illegitimate child (not being a married daughter) who has attained majority, where such child is, by reason of any physical or mental abnormality or injury unable to maintain itself, or

(d) his father or mother, unable to maintain himself or herself,

a Magistrate of the first class may, upon proof of such neglect or refusal, order such person to make a monthly allowance for the maintenance of his wife or such child, father or mother, at such monthly rate as such Magistrate thinks fit, and to pay the same to such person as the Magistrate may from time to time direct: Provided that the Magistrate may order the father of a minor female child referred to in clause (b) to make such allowance, until she attains her majority, if the Magistrate is satisfied that the husband of such minor female child, if married, is not possessed of sufficient means.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this Chapter,—

(a) “minor” means a person who, under the provisions of the Majority Act, 1875 (9 of 1875) ; is deemed not to have attained his majority;

(b) “wife” includes a woman who has been divorced by, or has obtained a divorce from, her husband and has not remarried.

(2) Such allowance shall be payable from the date of the order, or, if so ordered, from the date of the application for maintenance.

(3) If any person so ordered fails without sufficient cause to comply with the order, any such Magistrate may, for every breach of the order, issue a warrant for levying the amount due in the manner provided for levying fines, and may sentence such person, for the whole or any part of each month’s [allowance for the maintenance or the interim maintenance and expenses of proceeding, as the case may be,] remaining unpaid after the execution of the warrant, to imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or until payment if sooner made: Provided that no warrant shall be issued for the recovery of any amount due under this section unless application be made to the court to levy such amount within a period of one year from the date on which it became due: Provided further that if such person offers to maintain his wife on condition of her living with him, and she refuses to live with him, such Magistrate may consider any grounds of refusal stated by her, and may make an order under this section notwithstanding such offer, if he is satisfied that there is just ground for so doing.

Explanation.—If a husband has contracted marriage with another woman or keeps a mistress, it shall be considered to be just ground for his wife’s refusal to live with him.

(4) No Wife shall be entitled to receive an [allowance for the maintenance or the interim maintenance and expenses of proceeding, as the case may be,] from her husband under this section if she is living in adultery, or if, without any sufficient reason, she refuses to live with her husband, or if they are living separately by mutual consent.

(5) On proof that any wife in whose favour an order has been made under this section is living in adultery, or that without sufficient reason she refuses to live with her husband, or that they are living separately by mutual consent, the Magistrate shall cancel the order.

This provision ensures a legal mechanism for the maintenance of family members who are unable to maintain themselves, with the aim of preventing vagrancy and destitution.

125 CrPC Explanation

Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), provides a vital legal mechanism to protect the financial interests of wives, children, and parents who are unable to maintain themselves. This section is designed to prevent vagrancy and destitution by ensuring that individuals with sufficient means support their dependent family members. The key aspects and implications of Section 125 CrPC are detailed below:

1. Applicability:

This provision applies to any person who has sufficient means but neglects or refuses to maintain:

  • His wife, unable to maintain herself.
  • His legitimate or illegitimate minor child, whether married or not, who cannot maintain itself.
  • His legitimate or illegitimate child (not being a married daughter) who has attained majority but is unable to maintain itself due to physical or mental abnormalities or injury.
  • His father or mother, unable to maintain themselves.

2. Authority and Orders:

A Magistrate of the first class is empowered to order such individuals to provide a monthly allowance for the maintenance of their wife, child, father, or mother. The rate of maintenance is determined by the Magistrate based on the needs and circumstances of the case.

3. Scope and Definitions:

The term "minor" is defined according to the Majority Act, 1875, highlighting that it includes individuals who have not yet reached adulthood according to legal standards.

The term "wife" inclusively covers women who have been divorced or have obtained a divorce from their husbands and have not remarried, ensuring protection for divorced women as well.

4. Payment and Enforcement:

The maintenance allowance is payable from the date specified by the order, which can be the date of the order itself or the date of the application for maintenance.

Failure to comply with the maintenance order without sufficient cause can lead to legal consequences, including the issuance of a warrant for levying the amount due and possible imprisonment for non-payment.

5. Conditions and Exceptions:

If a person ordered to pay maintenance offers to maintain his wife on the condition of her living with him, the Magistrate can assess her refusal. The Magistrate may still order maintenance if justified, especially if the husband is involved in another marriage or relationship.

A wife may not be entitled to maintenance if she is living in adultery, refuses to live with her husband without sufficient reason, or if they are living separately by mutual consent.

The order for maintenance can be canceled upon proof that the conditions for entitlement are not met, such as the wife living in adultery or the mutual consent for separation.

125 CrPC Maintenance

Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), is a provision that mandates a certain individual to provide maintenance to his wife, children, and parents if they are unable to maintain themselves. The goal of this section is to prevent vagrancy and destitution among those who are unable to support themselves financially. 

Eligibility for Maintenance under Section 125 CrPC:

Wife: A wife who is unable to maintain herself is eligible for maintenance from her husband. This includes a woman who has been divorced or has obtained a divorce and has not remarried.

Children: Legitimate or illegitimate minor children who are unable to maintain themselves are eligible for maintenance. This also includes legitimate or illegitimate children (not being a married daughter) who have attained majority, if they are, by reason of any physical or mental abnormality or injury, unable to maintain themselves.

Parents: Father or mother who is unable to maintain himself or herself can seek maintenance from their son or daughter.

Key Points about Maintenance under Section 125 CrPC:

  • The maintenance is to be provided as a monthly allowance at a rate determined by the Magistrate.
  • The amount of maintenance is decided based on the needs of the person entitled to maintenance and the ability of the person who has to provide the maintenance.
  • The maintenance order is enforceable from the date of the order or from the date of the application for maintenance, as ordered by the Magistrate.
  • If the person ordered to pay maintenance fails to do so without sufficient cause, they may be subjected to imprisonment for a term that may extend to one month or until payment is made.
  • A wife is not entitled to maintenance if she is living in adultery, refuses to live with her husband without sufficient reason, or if they are living separately by mutual consent.

Application Process:

The person seeking maintenance must apply to the Magistrate's court in the jurisdiction where they reside. The application must detail the reasons for claiming maintenance, including the inability to maintain oneself and the means of the person from whom maintenance is sought.

125 CrPC Judgement in Favour of Husband

Judgments under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), which focus on maintenance obligations, predominantly center on ensuring financial support for wives, children, and parents who are unable to maintain themselves. However, there are instances where judgments can be seen as favorable to the husband, especially in situations where the conditions set forth for maintenance under this section are not met by the claimant (wife). These judgments typically involve interpretations and applications of the law that highlight the exceptions or specific conditions under which a wife may be deemed ineligible for maintenance from her husband. Here are a few scenarios and principles derived from various judgments that could be considered favorable to the husband:

1. Living in Adultery

Under Section 125(4), no wife shall be entitled to receive maintenance from her husband if she is living in adultery. Courts have consistently held that if it is proven that the wife is living in an adulterous relationship, the husband's obligation to pay maintenance can be revoked or denied.

2. Refusal to Live with Husband Without Sufficient Reason

If a wife refuses to live with her husband without any sufficient reason, she may be denied maintenance. The courts examine the reasons for the wife's refusal to cohabit with the husband, and if such reasons are not justified or are frivolous, the maintenance claim can be dismissed.

3. Mutual Consent to Live Separately

If both husband and wife have mutually agreed to live separately, the wife may not be entitled to claim maintenance under Section 125(4). This provision acknowledges agreements where both parties decide to live their lives independently without financial obligations under this section.

4. Wife Has Sufficient Means

Though not explicitly stated in Section 125, courts have considered the wife's own financial capacity in determining maintenance. If the wife has sufficient means to maintain herself, the court may consider this factor in deciding the maintenance amount, potentially leading to a lower amount or denial of maintenance.

5. Misuse of Legal Provisions

Courts are also mindful of the misuse of legal provisions for maintenance. If it is evident that the maintenance application is filed with malicious intent or as a means of harassment, courts may rule against such claims, protecting the husband from undue financial burden.

It's important to note that while there are judgments which can be seen as favoring the husband, the primary objective of Section 125 CrPC is to prevent vagrancy and destitution by ensuring financial support for those who are unable to maintain themselves. The courts carefully examine the circumstances of each case, ensuring that the application of the law is just and equitable, balancing the rights and obligations of both parties.

125 CrPC Affidavit Format

Creating an affidavit for Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) typically involves drafting a document where the deponent (the person making the affidavit) declares their financial status, inability to maintain themselves, or the respondent's neglect or refusal to maintain the deponent, which could be a wife, minor child, or parents. This document is used in proceedings for a maintenance order under Section 125 CrPC.

Below is a basic format for an affidavit to be used in a Section 125 CrPC case. It is important to customize the affidavit according to the specific facts of your case and legal requirements. Always consult with a legal professional for advice tailored to your situation.

BEFORE THE COURT OF MAGISTRATE

CASE NO: ________

IN THE MATTER OF:

[Your Name] (Petitioner)

Vs.

[Respondent's Name] (Respondent)

AFFIDAVIT

I, [Your Full Name], S/o or D/o [Father's/Mother's Name], aged [Your Age] years, resident of [Your Full Address], do hereby solemnly affirm and declare as under:

That I am the petitioner in the above-mentioned case and I am fully acquainted with the facts of the case.

That I got married to [Respondent's Name] on [Date of Marriage] at [Place of Marriage].

That due to [mention reasons for maintenance claim, e.g., abandonment, cruelty, refusal to maintain, etc.], I am compelled to live separately from the respondent.

That the respondent is employed as [Respondent's Occupation] and earns approximately [Respondent's Monthly Income] per month. [Or mention any property or assets if the respondent is not employed but has means.]

That I am [unemployed/a homemaker/have a very low income (specify your occupation and income if any)] and unable to maintain myself [and my children, if applicable].

That I have no sufficient means of income to support myself [and my children].

That I am dependent on the mercy of my relatives/friends for my day-to-day expenses.

That the respondent has neglected or refused to provide me [and my children] with maintenance for our basic needs.

That I, therefore, pray for the court to order the respondent to pay a monthly maintenance of [Amount in Rupees] to me [and for my children].

That the statements made above are true to the best of my knowledge, belief, and information received and I have not concealed or misrepresented any material facts.

VERIFICATION

Verified at [Place] on this [Day] of [Month, Year] that the contents of my above affidavit are true and correct to my knowledge and belief, no part of it is false, and nothing material has been concealed therein.

[Signature]

[Your Name]

Place:

Date:

Note: This is a general template for an affidavit under Section 125 CrPC. Legal requirements may vary based on jurisdiction and individual circumstances. It's crucial to consult with a lawyer to ensure the affidavit is correctly prepared and filed according to the law and local court rules.

125 crpc application format

Below is a simplified format for an application under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, for claiming maintenance. Please note that legal documents require precision, and it's recommended to consult a legal professional or advocate to ensure that the application meets all legal requirements and is tailored to your specific situation. This format is provided for educational purposes and should be modified according to individual cases and jurisdictional requirements.

Before the Family Court/Magistrate Court of [Insert Court Location]

Application No. ______ of [Year]

In the matter of: [Applicant's Name]

Vs.

[Respondent's Name]

Application under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for Grant of Maintenance

Respectfully Sheweth:

Applicant's Details:
Name:
Age:
Relationship with Respondent:
Address:


Respondent's Details:
Name:
Age:
Occupation:
Address:

That the applicant is the legally wedded wife/legitimate or illegitimate minor child/father or mother of the respondent (select as applicable).

That the marriage between the applicant and the respondent was solemnized on [Date], at [Place], according to [mention the religious or civil ceremony observed].

That the respondent has been neglecting or refusing to provide maintenance to the applicant, who is unable to maintain herself/himself.

That the applicant is in a state of financial destitution and is unable to sustain herself/himself due to lack of employment/income sources.

That the respondent has sufficient means to provide maintenance but has willfully neglected or refused to do so.

[Detail any specific incidents or evidence of neglect or refusal to provide maintenance.]

That the applicant is therefore praying for an order under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 directing the respondent to pay a monthly allowance of Rs. [Amount] for the maintenance of the applicant.

[Mention any other relief sought, if applicable.]

Prayer:

It is, therefore, most respectfully prayed that this Honorable Court may be pleased to:

a) Order the respondent to pay a monthly maintenance of Rs. [Amount] to the applicant.

b) Provide such other relief(s) as the court may deem fit and proper in the interest of justice.

Place: [Location]
Date: [Date]
Applicant
[Applicant's Name]
[Address]

Verification:

I, [Applicant's Name], do hereby declare and verify under the solemn affirmation at [Location], on this [Date], that the contents of the above application are true and correct to my knowledge and belief, no part of it is false, and nothing material has been concealed therein.

Signature of Applicant

Enclosures:

  • Proof of Marriage (if applicable).
  • Proof of Respondent's Income (if available).
  • Any relevant evidence supporting the application.

Note: Please attach any documents that support your claim. This might include marriage certificates, birth certificates for children, evidence of the respondent's income and assets, and any evidence of refusal or neglect to provide maintenance.

Remember, the actual format and requirements may vary based on local laws and court rules, so it's important to check with the court where you plan to file the application or consult with a legal advisor.

Download 125 CrPC Affidavit Format pdf

125 crpc cross examination questions

When it comes to cross-examination questions under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which pertains to the maintenance of wives, children, and parents, the focus is generally on establishing the financial capacity of the respondent to pay maintenance, the claimant's own income or ability to sustain themselves, and the legitimacy of the claim for maintenance. The specifics of the questions will depend on the details of each case, but below are some general examples of the types of questions that might be asked during cross-examination in a maintenance case under Section 125 CrPC:

For the Respondent (the person from whom maintenance is sought):

About Financial Capacity:

  • How are you currently employed, and what is your monthly income?
  • Do you have any other sources of income, including rental income, investments, or business profits?
  • Can you provide details of your assets, including property, vehicles, and savings?
  • Have there been any significant changes in your financial status in the past year?
  • Have you filed your income tax returns regularly? Can you provide copies of your returns for the past three years?
  • Are there any discrepancies between your declared income and your lifestyle that you would like to explain?

About Living Expenses:

  • How much do you spend on your monthly living expenses?
  • Can you itemize your monthly expenses related to housing, food, utilities, and personal expenses?
  • Do you have any dependents, and if so, what are your financial responsibilities towards them?

Regarding the Claimant:

  • Were you aware that the claimant is seeking maintenance from you?
  • What support have you provided to the claimant in the past?
  • For the Claimant (the person seeking maintenance):

About Need for Support:

  • What is your current employment status, and what is your monthly income?
  • Do you have any health issues or disabilities that affect your ability to work and earn an income?
  • Can you detail your monthly expenses and explain why you are unable to meet these expenses without support?
  • Apart from the respondent, do you have any family members or friends who are financially supporting you?
  • Have you applied for or are receiving any form of government assistance or welfare benefits?

About Relationship with Respondent:

  • Can you describe your relationship with the respondent?
  • When did you last live together, and what were the circumstances of your separation?

Regarding Efforts to Sustain Themselves:

  • What efforts have you made to find employment or support yourself independently?
  • Have you received any financial assistance from the respondent voluntarily before filing for maintenance?
  • What is your highest educational qualification, and what skills do you possess that are relevant to the job market?
  • Have there been any attempts at further education or vocational training to improve your employability?

Property and Investments:

  • Detail the properties (immovable assets) you own or have a stake in. When were these acquired?
  • Do you have investments in stocks, mutual funds, or any other financial instruments? What is their current value?

Evidence of Claims:

  • Can you provide any documentary evidence to support your claims regarding your financial status, expenses, or the respondent's financial capacity?
  • Are there any witnesses or documents that can corroborate your statements regarding your relationship and need for maintenance?

The questions will vary based on the specifics of each case, and it's essential for both parties to prepare thoroughly, ideally with the guidance of legal counsel, to ensure that their positions are effectively communicated and defended during the cross-examination process.

Maintenance Under CrPC

Maintenance under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, in India, is primarily outlined in Section 125. This provision is designed to prevent vagrancy and destitution by compelling those with sufficient means to support their family members who are unable to maintain themselves. Here is a detailed look at how maintenance under the CrPC works:

Who Can Claim Maintenance?

Under Section 125 of the CrPC, the following individuals are eligible to claim maintenance:

Wife: A woman who is legally married to the man from whom she is claiming maintenance. This includes a woman who has been divorced by her husband or has obtained a divorce, and has not remarried.

Children: This includes both legitimate and illegitimate minor children who are unable to maintain themselves. A minor is defined as a person who has not reached the age of majority as per the Majority Act, 1875. The section also extends to legitimate or illegitimate children (not being a married daughter) who have attained majority, where such child is, by reason of any physical or mental abnormality or injury, unable to maintain itself.

Parents: A person's father or mother who is unable to maintain themselves can claim maintenance from their son or daughter.

Key Provisions:

Sufficient Means: The person from whom maintenance is claimed must have sufficient means to support the claimant but neglects or refuses to do so.

Quantum of Maintenance: The amount of maintenance to be awarded is at the discretion of the court. It is determined based on the needs of the claimant and the financial capacity of the person from whom maintenance is sought.

Procedure: The claim for maintenance is made by filing an application before a Magistrate of the first class. The court then conducts hearings to determine the validity of the claim and the appropriate amount of maintenance.

Enforcement: If the person ordered to pay maintenance fails to comply with the court's order, the court may enforce the order through various means, including issuing a warrant for levying the amount due.

Additional Considerations:

  • The claim for maintenance is not just limited to the spouse or children; it also extends to parents who are unable to maintain themselves.
  • The wife's claim for maintenance may be denied if she is living in adultery, refuses to live with her husband without sufficient reason, or they are living separately by mutual consent.
  • Section 125 is secular and applies to individuals of all religions.
  • Proceedings under Section 125 are civil in nature, and the purpose is to provide a speedy remedy to those who are in a state of neglect by their family members with sufficient means.
  • Maintenance under CrPC is a critical tool for ensuring financial support to those who are vulnerable and unable to maintain themselves, thereby safeguarding their rights and dignity.

Key features of Section 125 CrPC

Applicability: This section applies to any person, irrespective of religion, who has sufficient means but neglects or refuses to maintain:

  • His wife, unable to maintain herself.
  • His legitimate or illegitimate minor child, whether married or not, unable to maintain itself.
  • His legitimate or illegitimate child (not a married daughter) who has attained majority, where such child is, by reason of any physical or mental abnormality or injury, unable to maintain itself.
  • His father or mother, unable to maintain themselves.

Quantum of Maintenance: The amount of maintenance to be awarded under this section is determined by the court based on the needs of the person entitled to receive maintenance and the means of the person who has to pay maintenance. The maintenance amount is decided in a manner that is just and equitable.

Procedure: The procedure for obtaining maintenance under Section 125 involves the filing of an application in the magistrate's court. The magistrate, after considering the evidence presented by both parties, may order a monthly allowance for maintenance.

Interim Maintenance: The court may also order interim maintenance during the pendency of the proceeding, ensuring immediate financial support.

Modification: The maintenance order is not final and can be altered or canceled if there is a change in the circumstances of either party.

Enforcement: If the person ordered to pay maintenance fails to comply with the court's order, the court may take various measures to enforce the order, including issuing a warrant for levying the amount due in the manner provided for levying fines.

Jurisdiction: The application for maintenance can be filed in a court within the district where the person in need of maintenance resides, or where the husband (or person who has to pay maintenance) resides.

Section 125 CrPC is a crucial provision in Indian law, ensuring that no person who is part of a family should be left destitute or without support from those who have the means to provide for them.

125 crpc cases

Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, is a provision in Indian law aimed at preventing vagrancy and destitution by making it obligatory for certain individuals to provide maintenance to their dependent family members. This includes wives, children (both legitimate and illegitimate), and parents. Over the years, numerous cases have been brought before Indian courts where the provisions of Section 125 CrPC have been invoked. Here are summaries of a few notable cases that highlight the application and interpretation of this law:

1. Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum, 1985

"Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum, 1985" (AIR 1985 SC 945) is a landmark judgment by the Supreme Court of India, which had far-reaching implications on the rights of Muslim women in India. The case revolved around the issue of maintenance for a divorced Muslim woman under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC).

Background of the Case

Shah Bano Begum, a 62-year-old Muslim woman, was divorced by her husband, Mohd. Ahmed Khan, a renowned lawyer in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, in 1978 after about 43 years of marriage. After the divorce, Shah Bano filed a petition under Section 125 of the CrPC, seeking maintenance from her husband, as she was unable to maintain herself. The trial court awarded her maintenance of Rs. 25 per month, which was later increased to Rs. 179.20 per month by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh.

The Legal Challenge

Mohd. Ahmed Khan challenged the High Court's decision in the Supreme Court, arguing that, as a Muslim, he was governed by the "Muslim Personal Law" (Shariat) Application Act of 1937, which did not require him to provide maintenance beyond the period of 'iddat' (approximately three months following the divorce) as per Islamic law. He also contended that he had already paid Shah Bano an amount that fulfilled his obligations under Islamic law.

Supreme Court Judgment

The Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment delivered in 1985, upheld the High Court's decision and ruled that Shah Bano was entitled to receive maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC. The Court held that Section 125 applies to all citizens irrespective of their religion and provides a secular remedy to a destitute wife, which is a measure of social justice and is not governed by personal laws.

Key Points of the Judgment

Universal Application: The Court asserted that Section 125 of the CrPC is a secular provision and applies to all regardless of religion.

Maintenance Post-Iddat: The judgment clarified that a Muslim woman is entitled to maintenance from her former husband even after the iddat period if she has not remarried and is unable to maintain herself.

Harmony with Personal Laws: The Court observed that there is no conflict between the provisions of Section 125 of the CrPC and Islamic law, as the purpose of both is to provide for the destitute.

Impact and Controversies

The judgment led to a nationwide debate and controversy, especially among the Muslim community, who viewed the Supreme Court's decision as an encroachment on Muslim Personal Law. The ruling was seen by many as an attempt to secularize personal laws, which led to significant political and social upheaval.

In response to the backlash, the Indian government passed the "Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986," which aimed to exclude Muslim women from the purview of Section 125 of the CrPC, and provide maintenance for Muslim women under Islamic law only.

Despite the controversy, the Shah Bano case remains a watershed moment in the legal and social history of India, emphasizing the supremacy of the Constitution and the secular nature of its provisions concerning the rights of all citizens, including women across religions.

2. Shamima Farooqui v. Shahid Khan, 2015

"Shamima Farooqui v. Shahid Khan" (2015) is a notable judgment by the Supreme Court of India that underscores the principles governing the maintenance of wives under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC). In this landmark case, the Supreme Court emphasized the importance of providing adequate and reasonable maintenance to the wife, highlighting that the provision of maintenance under Section 125 CrPC is designed to prevent destitution and vagrancy among women who are not able to maintain themselves after separation or divorce.

Case Background

Shamima Farooqui filed for maintenance from her husband, Shahid Khan, alleging neglect and refusal to maintain her. The case went through various legal proceedings, during which the question of what constitutes "adequate" and "reasonable" maintenance was deliberated upon.

Supreme Court's Observations

The Supreme Court made several important observations and laid down principles regarding the provision of maintenance, which include:

Adequate and Reasonable Maintenance: The maintenance awarded to the wife should be "adequate," "reasonable," and "just," taking into account the standard of living of the recipient and the payer's capacity. The court emphasized that maintenance is not merely a relief to live but is meant to ensure that the recipient lives in a manner similar to what she was used to in the matrimonial home.

Wide Interpretation of Maintenance: The Court stated that the concept of maintenance must be interpreted widely to include means for the wife to live with dignity as she would have lived in her matrimonial home. This is not just a physical necessity but includes provisions for food, clothing, residence, and other basic amenities.

Objective of Section 125 CrPC: The Court reiterated that the objective of Section 125 CrPC is to ensure social justice and prevent destitution and vagrancy by compelling the capable party to support those who are unable to maintain themselves.

Non-Derogable Duty: The duty of a husband to maintain his wife is seen as a measure of social justice and is not a mere contractual obligation. It is a duty imposed by law.

Outcome

In "Shamima Farooqui v. Shahid Khan," the Supreme Court directed the husband to provide adequate maintenance to his wife, reinforcing the legal principle that women must be provided with maintenance to ensure they can live with dignity post-separation or divorce.

This judgment is significant as it clarifies and strengthens the legal framework for the protection of the rights of women to receive maintenance. It ensures that maintenance is not merely symbolic but is sufficient to maintain a standard of living similar to the one enjoyed in the matrimonial home.

3. Rajnesh v. Neha & Anr, 2020

"Rajnesh v. Neha & Anr" (2020) is a landmark judgment by the Supreme Court of India, which further elaborated and clarified the law regarding the maintenance of wives, children, and parents under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), specifically under Section 125. This case is significant for its comprehensive guidelines intended to bring uniformity and consistency in the orders for maintenance across matrimonial proceedings.

Case Background

The dispute involved a plea for interim maintenance by the wife, contested by the husband on various grounds, including the quantum of maintenance. The primary issues revolved around the assessment of the husband's income and the reasonable needs of the wife and child.

Supreme Court's Observations and Guidelines

In its judgment, the Supreme Court laid down several significant guidelines to streamline and standardize the process of granting maintenance, which include:

Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities: Both parties (the claimant and the respondent) are required to disclose their income and assets. The Court introduced a uniform affidavit of disclosure to be filed by both parties in maintenance proceedings to ensure that orders for maintenance are based on the accurate financial positions of both parties.

Criteria for Determining Quantum of Maintenance: The Court listed several factors to be considered while determining the quantum of maintenance, such as the status of the parties, reasonable needs of the wife and children, whether the applicant is educated and professionally qualified, the number of persons the respondent needs to maintain, etc.

Permanent Alimony: The Court also provided guidelines for courts to consider while determining permanent alimony, emphasizing that no fixed formula can be adopted, and courts have to decide on a case-by-case basis.

Date from Which Maintenance is to be Awarded: The Supreme Court ruled that maintenance is to be awarded from the date of filing the application for maintenance.

Enforcement of Orders of Maintenance: The judgment underscored the necessity of prompt enforcement of maintenance orders and provided for the possibility of issuing a warrant for levying the amount due under the order.

Simultaneous Proceedings: In cases where maintenance claims are made under different statutes (like domestic violence laws and the CrPC), the Court clarified that the applicant must disclose the previous proceedings and orders passed therein, to avoid conflicting orders and ensure judicial consistency.

Impact of the Judgment

"Rajnesh v. Neha & Anr" is pivotal in standardizing the procedure and considerations for awarding maintenance in matrimonial disputes. The judgment is aimed at ensuring that maintenance orders are fair, realistic, and based on the actual living standards and needs of those entitled to receive maintenance. It also seeks to prevent the evasion of financial responsibilities by obligors by mandating a transparent disclosure of financial status. This judgment is a significant step towards addressing and mitigating the complexities and inconsistencies faced in maintenance proceedings across India.

4. Rohtash Singh v. Smt. Ramendri & Others, 2000

The case of Rohtash Singh v. Smt. Ramendri & Others, (2000) 3 SCC 180, is a landmark judgment delivered by the Supreme Court of India, which delves into the provisions of Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973. Section 125 CrPC mandates a legal mechanism for providing maintenance to wives, children, and parents who are unable to maintain themselves.

Background of the Case:

The case involved an appeal by the husband (Rohtash Singh) against the order of maintenance awarded to his wife (Smt. Ramendri) under Section 125 CrPC. The core issue revolved around the entitlement of a legally wedded wife to claim maintenance from her husband, particularly when she was living separately due to allegations of cruelty and desertion.

Judgment:

In its judgment, the Supreme Court made several significant observations and clarifications regarding the rights of women under Section 125 CrPC. The Court held that:

Maintenance for Estranged Wives: A wife, who is unable to maintain herself, is entitled to maintenance under Section 125 CrPC, even if she is living separately from her husband, provided she has a valid reason for such separation. The Court clarified that if the wife is compelled to live separately due to cruelty or desertion by the husband, she is still entitled to claim maintenance.

Definition of 'Wife': The Supreme Court also clarified the definition of 'wife' under Section 125 CrPC, emphasizing that it includes a woman who has been divorced by her husband and has not remarried. The judgment thereby extended the scope of maintenance to divorced women, provided they have not remarried.

Objective of Section 125 CrPC: The Court reiterated that the primary objective of Section 125 is to prevent vagrancy and destitution. It is a measure of social justice specifically aimed at protecting women and children and falls within the constitutional sweep of Article 15(3) reinforced by Article 39 of the Constitution of India.

No Legalizing of Matrimonial Ties: The Supreme Court also noted that proceedings under Section 125 CrPC are not meant to legalize or illegitimate matrimonial relationships. The purpose is solely to achieve the social objectives of preventing destitution and vagrancy by compelling those who can provide support to those who are unable to support themselves and have a moral claim for support.

Impact of the Judgment:

The judgment of Rohtash Singh v. Smt. Ramendri is significant as it broadened the understanding and applicability of Section 125 CrPC. It underscored the importance of providing maintenance to estranged wives and divorced women, emphasizing the law's role in upholding the dignity and welfare of women. This case is often cited as a precedent in maintenance cases, reflecting its importance in the legal landscape related to family law and women's rights in India.

5. Mangat Mal v. Punni Devi, 1995

The case of Mangat Mal v. Punni Devi, (1995) 6 SCC 88, is an important judgment by the Supreme Court of India concerning the provisions of maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973. This section mandates a legal obligation on individuals to provide maintenance to their wives, children, and parents if they are unable to maintain themselves.

Background of the Case:

In Mangat Mal v. Punni Devi, the primary issue revolved around the entitlement of a wife to receive maintenance from her husband under Section 125 CrPC and the circumstances under which such maintenance could be claimed. The petition was filed by the wife, seeking maintenance from her estranged husband.

Judgment:

The Supreme Court, in its judgment, reinforced the principle that the purpose of Section 125 CrPC is to prevent vagrancy and destitution by providing a speedy remedy to those who are unable to maintain themselves. The Court emphasized that the provision is essentially a measure of social justice and is part of the constitutional mandate to ensure the right to live with dignity.

One of the significant aspects of the judgment was the Court's interpretation regarding "neglect" or "refusal" to maintain. The Court held that for a wife to claim maintenance under Section 125 CrPC, it is not necessary for her to prove that the husband has "refused" to maintain her in the sense of a clear demand followed by a clear denial. Rather, if the husband, with sufficient means, neglects to provide for his wife's maintenance, she is entitled to approach the court for relief under this section.

Impact of the Judgment:

The judgment of Mangat Mal v. Punni Devi is significant for several reasons:

  • It clarified the broad and beneficial nature of Section 125 CrPC, emphasizing its role in preventing destitution and vagrancy among dependent wives, children, and parents.
  • It underscored the principle that the provision for maintenance under Section 125 is of a nature "sui generis" (of its own kind) and is meant to ensure social justice.
  • It highlighted that the criterion for awarding maintenance is the neglect or failure to maintain, and such neglect does not require a formal demand and denial.

The case is often cited in subsequent legal proceedings involving claims for maintenance under Section 125 CrPC, demonstrating its enduring relevance in the interpretation and application of the law regarding maintenance obligations.

6. D. Velusamy v. D. Patchaiammal, 2010

The case of D. Velusamy v. D. Patchaiammal, 2010, is a significant judgment by the Supreme Court of India that provided clarity on the legal status and rights of women in live-in relationships under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. This judgment outlined the criteria for a relationship to be considered a "relationship in the nature of marriage" for the purpose of providing protection and maintenance under the said Act.

Background of the Case:

D. Patchaiammal filed a case against D. Velusamy, with whom she claimed to have lived in a "relationship in the nature of marriage" for several years. She sought maintenance from Velusamy under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, alleging that she was subjected to domestic violence and was now living in a state of neglect and financial destitution.

Velusamy, on the other hand, contested these claims by arguing that he was already married to another woman and that his relationship with Patchaiammal did not constitute a marriage or a relationship in the nature of marriage as defined under the Act. He claimed that Patchaiammal was not entitled to any relief under the Act.

Judgment:

The Supreme Court, in its judgment, laid down specific criteria that a relationship must fulfill to be considered a "relationship in the nature of marriage" under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The Court noted that not all live-in relationships would qualify for protection under the Act and identified several factors that must be present, including but not limited to:

  • The couple must hold themselves out to society as akin to spouses.
  • They must be of legal age to marry.
  • They must be otherwise qualified to enter into a legal marriage, including being unmarried.
  • They must have voluntarily cohabited and held themselves out to the world as being akin to spouses for a significant period of time.

The Court also made a distinction between relationships that are in the nature of marriage and those that are merely live-in relationships or relationships for sexual reasons. The former qualifies for legal protection, whereas the latter does not.

Impact of the Judgment:

The judgment in D. Velusamy v. D. Patchaiammal is pivotal because it set forth clear guidelines to determine the legitimacy of claims made under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act by women in live-in relationships. It established that not all live-in relationships would be treated equally under the law, and only those relationships that closely resemble a marriage would be eligible for protection and maintenance.

This case is often cited in legal battles involving the rights of women in live-in relationships, making it a cornerstone judgment in the context of Indian family law and the rights of women living in non-marital, yet marriage-like, relationships.

7. Chanmuniya v. Virendra Kumar Singh Kushwaha, 2011

In the landmark case of Chanmuniya v. Virendra Kumar Singh Kushwaha, 2011, the Supreme Court of India expanded upon the legal understanding of relationships that qualify for maintenance under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973. The case played a significant role in addressing the rights of women in live-in relationships and broadened the interpretation of the term "wife" under this section.

Background of the Case:

The appellant, Chanmuniya, was married to Virendra Kumar Singh Kushwaha's brother, who allegedly passed away. Following her husband's death, Chanmuniya claimed that she was then married to Virendra Kumar Singh Kushwaha according to customary rites and lived with him as his wife. However, disputes arose, and she sought maintenance from him under Section 125 CrPC, claiming she was his legally wedded wife.

Virendra Kumar Singh Kushwaha contested the claim, arguing that there was no legal marriage between them and, therefore, she was not entitled to maintenance under Section 125 CrPC, which is traditionally applicable to legally wedded wives, legitimate or illegitimate children, and parents.

Judgment:

The Supreme Court recognized the need to protect women who were not legally married but were in relationships that resembled marital relationships, often referred to as "live-in relationships." The Court observed that if a man and a woman lived together for a long time as husband and wife, the law should presume a valid marriage between them, thereby entitling the woman to maintenance under Section 125 CrPC.

The Court directed that the term "wife" in Section 125 CrPC should be interpreted in a broad manner to include cases where a man and woman have been living together as husband and wife for a reasonably long period of time. This interpretation aimed to prevent injustice to women who, otherwise, were left without any means of support from their partners with whom they had shared a domestic relationship akin to marriage.

Impact of the Judgment:

The Chanmuniya judgment was a progressive step towards recognizing the realities of societal changes and relationships outside the traditional framework of marriage. It underscored the need for laws to adapt to social realities to protect the rights and dignity of women living in live-in relationships, who were previously in a legal grey area regarding the right to maintenance.

This judgment has since been cited in numerous cases to argue for maintenance rights for women in long-term relationships that resemble a marital bond, even if such relationships do not meet the strict legal definitions of marriage. It emphasized the principle of social justice for women, ensuring that they are not left destitute or vulnerable due to the lack of legal recognition of their relationship.

These cases reflect the evolving interpretation of Section 125 CrPC to provide justice and relief to dependent family members, especially women and children, ensuring they are not left destitute or vagrant because of the inability or unwillingness of those who have a legal obligation to support them.

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Barristery.in: 125 CrPC: Explanation, Maintenance, Format, Cases, etc.
125 CrPC: Explanation, Maintenance, Format, Cases, etc.
Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), provides a vital legal mechanism to protect the financial interests of wives, children, an
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