Maintenance under Section 125 of Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC)

 


Although right to maintenance forms a part of the personal law, but in order to protect women and children and provide a swift and cheap remedy against neglect and refusal to maintain, a secular safeguard irrespective of personal laws of the parties was necessary. With this intention Sec. 125 was inserted in the Cr.PC.

Q. If a woman has already claimed maintenance u/s 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 can she claim maintenance u/s 125 of Cr.PC simultaneously?

A. Courts have in several judgments that remedy u/s 125 and Sec. 24 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 are independent and not relevant to each other. There is no conflict between the two provisions. A person may sue for maintenance under s.125 of Cr.P.C. If a person has already obtained maintenance order under his or her personal law, the magistrate while fixing the amount of maintenance may take that into consideration while fixing the quantum of maintenance under the Code.

Q. Who can claim maintenance u/s 125 of CrPC?

A. The following can claim maintenance u/s 125 irrespective of their religion;
  • Wife if she is unable to maintain herself,
  • Legitimate or illegitimate minor child, whether married or not, who is unable to maintain himself or herself
  • Father or mother who is unable to maintain himself or herself

Q. Is there any limitation period for making an application for maintenance?

A. No.

Q. Under what conditions is a wife not entitled to maintenance u/s 125?

A. No wife shall be entitled to receive an allowance from her husband if:
  • She is living in adultery, or
  • Without any sufficient reason she refuses to live with her husband, or
  • They are living separately by mutual consent.

However if the husband has married another woman or keeps a mistress, it shall be considered to be just ground for the wife's refusal to live with him.