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Childless Step Mother Can Claim Maintenance From Her Step Sons

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Case Law: Deenbandhu & Anr. v. Birajho Bai

In the case of Deenbandhu & Anr. v. Birajho Bai decided by Chhattisgarh High Court, Bilaspur on 15 July 2015 by Justice Sanjay K. Agrawal. The question before the court was whether the step-mother can claim maintenance from the step-son under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The non-applicant is a widow aged about 70 years and has no source of earning and the step sons has misappropriated with the property left to her by her husband and are not maintain her. The court ordered for the grant of Rs 1000/- from each of the step to be given to her every month from 28 November 2014. The applicants challenging the order of the Family Court stated that the lady is a concubine to their father and hence she is not a family member and the above order granting maintenance be dismissed. Mr. Sourabh Danggi who was amicus curiae in the matter made his observation and explained that a step mother is not liable for maintenance under Section 125 CrPC but a childless step mother is liable and who has no source of earning and unable to maintain herself as the said provision is a beneficial and a benevolent legislation. The counsel for the applicant claimed that maintenance under section 125 CrPC is only claimed by a mother and in various decisions of Supreme Court where mother means a mother who has given birth to a child and is not the wife of the father. The court relied on Kirtikant D. Vadodaria v. State of Gujarat where the Supreme Court has elaborated the purpose of maintenance under section 125 CrPC whereby they stated “While dealing with the ambit and scope of the provision contained in Section 125 of the Code, it has to be borne in mind that the dominant and primary object is to give social justice to the woman, child and infirm parents etc. and to prevent destitution and vagrancy by compelling those who can support those who are unable to support themselves but have a moral claim for support.” And hence the High Court upheld the order passed by the Family Court and confirmed that a childless stepmother can claim maintenance from her step sons.

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