Libertatem Magazine

Maintenance Under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code

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Granting of maintenance is a form of social justice that empowers the wife, children, parents, near relations, dependents etc. of a man by giving them the desired financial support. It aims to curb immortality and keep destitution at bay. The term ‘maintenance’ in Indian law refers to an entitlement to food, clothes, and housing, which is usually available to the wife, children, and parents. It is a measure of social justice and an essential component of a man’s natural obligation to support his wife, children, and parents who are unable to support themselves. Aside from Section 125 of the CRPC, maintenance can also be sought under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955. The provisions of Section 125, CrPc, 1973 must be enforced regardless of the personal law by which people in India are governed. Simultaneously, it must be understood that the personal laws of the parties involved, Hindus, Muslims, and Christians, must be taken into account since they are relevant in determining the legitimacy of the marriage tie, whether any (existent or not) and therefore cannot be ignored.

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Section 125 of the CrPC

The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 binds a person to perform the moral obligation to society that he owes to his wife, children, and parents. The obligation is lawful and binding on the person. CRPC provisions are highly secular, harmless and all-pervading, and relevant to all Indian communities regardless of their religion, caste, and faith.

These provisions of the CrPc are enforceable regardless of the personal law that directs and governs the respective parties concerned. Maintenance may be asserted under the personal laws of people belonging to different religions, and proceedings under those personal laws are civil; whereas, proceedings instituted under Section 125 of The CRPC are summary in nature and extend to all regardless of their caste, creed, or religion.

The neglected wife, children, and parents are protected from absolute poverty and destitution by way of this simple, speedy, and effective relief provided under the provisions of chapter IX of the CrPc. It is a speedy remedy against starvation and helplessness. It functions as a summary procedure with few complications. Hence accomplishes a man’s essential fundamental obligation to provide for his family. The idea behind this concept is to provide the basic least to the wife, children, and the parents so that they don’t take recourse to criminal activities to fulfil their desires. A magistrate of the first class can take a summary action under such provisions for the prevention of poverty. This section aims to curb starvation, destitution, and homelessness of the relatives, near and distant who are not able to maintain themselves. Thereby with the enforcement of this section relief is sorted for the poor neglected wives, discarded children, and helpless elderly parents. Maintenance laws have generally been found to be by the Constitution since they do not violate Article 14 as well as Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution. They fall within the purview of Article11 of 15(3). The major difference between the maintenance provisions under the CrPc and the Hindu adoption and marriage act is that the right to maintenance under section 125 of the CrPc is a statutory right that is recognized and accepted without taking into account the religion of the parties concerned whereas maintenance under the Hindu adoptions and marriage Act is applicable exclusively for the Hindus.

Problems associated with Maintenance Laws

Different communities in India have different maintenance laws. The difficulty lies in bringing all these separate laws within one common umbrella to ensure the efficient functioning of uniform maintenance laws within the country. The majority population in India consists of Hindus and Muslims and both of them have shastras and modern Maintenance laws. Maintenance laws in India are not comprehensive, substantial, or exhaustive. A brief review of maintenance laws in various Indian communities reveals certain inconsistencies, holes, and lacunae. Even section 125 of the CrPc which is considered to be a role model in itself is not free from such anomalies and loopholes. A Magistrate has no inherent power under the CRPC, unlike Section 151 of the Civil Procedure Code or Section 482 of the CRPC, which gives a High Court inherent power. According to Section 362 of the CRPC, a Magistrate cannot alter or review his order. The same goes for the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956. According to Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, both the male and female spouses can seek maintenance from the other spouse. Only the wife is eligible for maintenance under Section 18 of the 1956 Act. Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 covers even the costs of the proceedings, while Section 18 of the Act of 1955 does not. The order made under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 is not appealable, but revision is possible. The decree, however, is appealable under Section 18 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act of 1956.

Also, there have been many instances where laws related to maintenance have been misused by women for financial gain. In 2014, the Mumbai family court had summoned a highly educated woman for her to claim maintenance from her estranged husband. The woman in question was highly educated, had obtained her MBA, and was employed as a human resource professional by a private company. In 2014, she petitioned the court for permanent monthly alimony of Rs 25,000 and maintenance in the sum of Rs 25,000 under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act. The woman said she was forced to resign from her position. She argued that because she was not employed and was financially dependent on her parents and brother, she was entitled to maintenance. Her husband, an engineer who earned a monthly salary of Rs 25,000, as opposed to her assertion. He alleged that his wife abandoned him in 2012, filed for divorce in 2013, sought maintenance from the court in 2014. The Mumbai family judge court stated “According to me, Section 24 has been enacted to provide monetary assistance to such spouse who is incapable of supporting himself or herself. If the spouse is well qualified, s/he is not expected to remain idle to squeeze out the other… The law does not expect the increasing number of such idle persons, who, by remaining in the arena of legal battles, try to squeeze out the adversary by implementing the provisions of law suitable to their purpose, A lady who is fighting matrimonial petition filed for divorce cannot be permitted to sit idle and put her burden on the husband for demanding pendente lite alimony from him during the pendency of such petition. Section 24 is not meant for creating an army of such idle persons who would be sitting waiting for a ‘dole’, to be awarded by her husband who has got a grievance against her and has gone to the court seeking relief against her,” and concluded the order.


Favourable solutions must be obtained to tackle the above-mentioned lacunas, anomalies, and ambiguities within maintenance laws. There is a great need to find a common ground for the efficient functioning of the maintenance laws within the country. The parliament should take initiative by enacting new legislation regarding this issue. A group of eminent Indian jurists may assist Parliament in this regard by suggesting uniformity and eradicating differences, inconsistencies, laches, and lacunae. For a long time, men in India have been subjected to gender-biased legislation, and Section 24 prohibits such egregious application of the law, but it persists. Women have an easy time obtaining routine maintenance. The legislation was not intended to achieve double standards but sadly it has become the case. Though things are improving, fake/bogus cases or Unnecessary cases of female maintenance are getting dismissed. Provisions should be made to impose harsh penalties for bringing in such false cases. Committees should be established to look into the matters of maintenance so that a woman gets what is rightfully hers. As Indian citizens, it is our duty to be truthful and not discriminate, as the law does not. is now on Telegram. Follow us for regular legal updates and judgments from the Court. Follow us on Google NewsInstagramLinkedInFacebook & Twitter. You can also subscribe to our Weekly Email Updates. You can also contribute stories like this and help us spread awareness for a better society. Submit Your Post Now.

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