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Maintenance Under: Section 125-128

The legal requirement for someone to maintain their spouse, children, or other dependent family members financially is known as maintenance under India's Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

Such substantive law is an example in Chapter IX (Sections 125 to 128 of the Code). The support of spouses, children, and parents is outlined in Sections 125 to 128 of the CrPC.

Maintenance: Meaning

It is quite challenging to formally define "maintenance" exactly. Even S.125 of the Cr.P.C. does not clearly define upkeep.

The courts have, however, construed it to imply usually suitable housing, clothing, and food. The word maintenance should not be used in such a limited sense, though. As an illustration, in

Ahmedullah V. Mafizuddin Ahmed

It was decided that maintenance also covers educational costs. In accordance with Section 3(b) of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, maintenance includes:
  • In all circumstances, provision for food, clothing, residence, education, and treatment.
  • In the event of an unmarried daughter, also the reasonable costs of and sequel to her marriage.
"Nafquh," which literally translates to "what a person spends over his family," is the equivalent of "maintenance" in Muslim law. Mulla claims that the term "maintenance" has come to mean "food, raiment (clothing), and lodging."

The maintenance of spouses, children, and parents is provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). In order to prevent those who are unable to sustain themselves from having to live in poverty or become homeless, this is being done. The CrPC also strives to safeguard women and children against homelessness and scavenging.

Mani V. Jaykumari

The Madras High Court has ruled that the primary purpose of these provisions is to provide social justice to women and children. The court has also stated that these provisions are intended to prevent destitution, distribution, and vagrancy.

The CrPC's maintenance provisions are a measure of social justice that are specifically designed to protect women and children. These provisions also fall within the constitutional framework of Article 15 (3), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, and Article 39, which guarantees the right to an adequate standard of living.

Persons Entitled To Claim Maintenance
In accordance with Section 125(1) of the Code, the following people may be eligible to make a maintenance claim in specific situations:
  • Wife
  • Children
  • Father or Mother

Maintenance To Wife

According to Section 125 (1) (a) of the Code, if a person with sufficient means neglects or refuses to support his wife, who is unable to support herself, a first-class Magistrate can order that person to provide a monthly allowance for the maintenance of his wife. The amount will be determined by the Magistrate, and the person must pay it as directed by the Magistrate. In this context, "wife" includes a woman who has been divorced by her husband or has obtained a divorce and has not remarried.

The term "wife" applies regardless of the woman's age, whether she is a minor or an adult. The legality of the marriage will be determined by the personal laws applicable to the parties, and if there is a dispute regarding the validity of the marriage, the applicant will need to provide proof of marriage. The Supreme Court in

Bakulbai V. Gangaram

It has been established that a woman who becomes the second wife of a man who already has a living spouse at the time of the second marriage does not have the right to receive maintenance. Even if the second wife is unaware of the existence of the previous marriage, she is not entitled to make a claim for maintenance.

Right Of Muslim Woman To Claim Maintenance U / S 125 Cr.P.C. After Iddat Period.
Before the Mohammad Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum case, Muslim wives were not entitled to claim maintenance after completing their Iddat period.

However, this changed with the Supreme Court's ruling in the case.

Mohammad Ahmed Khan V. Shah Bano Begum

After her husband filed for divorce, 62-year-old Muslim Shah Bano Begum filed a criminal complaint with the Supreme Court of India. She requested maintenance, and the judge granted her request. The court ruled that as long as a Muslim woman stays single and is unable to support herself using the dower she received at the time of divorce, she has the right to request maintenance under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code even beyond the Iddat period. Muslims were outraged by this decision since it was against Islamic Law. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 was subsequently passed, which nullified the Supreme Court's ruling and prevented Muslim women from suing their ex-husbands for maintenance.

Maintenance To Children

The Code doesn't define the term "child." According to Section 125(1)� of the Indian Majority Act of 1875, a child need not be a minor but must be incapable of maintaining itself due to a physical or mental disability or injury. This means that someone has not achieved full age, which is defined as 18 years old.

However, a married daughter is not considered a kid.

The legality or illegitimacy of a child has no bearing on the determination of maintenance. Maintenance is due to even an illegitimate minor.

In Moti Ram V. 1st Additional District Judge, Bareilly

Wife filed a petition for support for both her and her little kid. The marriage was previously ruled void, and the daughter was not impleaded as an applicant. Daughter's application was upheld as maintainable. It was decided that "A woman may have a terrible character, but she may still be entitled to an order for maintenance for an illegitimate child provided she establishes that the person being sued is the child's father.

Maintenance To Father Or Mother

The provision pertaining to a parent's maintenance who may not be able to support themselves. Nowhere specifically did the stepfather or stepmother fall under the definition of "his father or mother" as it appears in Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code. When the term "mother" is used in a general sense, it refers to the woman who gave birth to the individual whose support is being requested under section 125 of the Civil Rights and Property Code. Further, in

Vijaya Manehar Arabat V. Kashirao Rajaram Sawai

The Supreme Court ruled that while it is true that the terms "his father" and "his mother" are used in clause (d) of section 125 (1), the inclusion of the pronoun "his" does not preclude the parent from requesting support from the daughter. However, the court must be convinced that the daughter has sufficient means of her own independent of the means of income of her husband and that the father or mother, as the case may be, is unable to support himself or herself before it can order maintenance of a father or mother against their married daughter.

Can the husband ask the wife for maintenance?

It is obvious from a straightforward reading of S. 125 (1) that the right to seek maintenance is only open to the individuals specified therein who are not entitled to maintenance from their wives under S. 125 Cr.P.C. Since the word "husband" is not used, it can be assumed that there is no husband.

According to the aforementioned provisions of Section 125 of the Code, a man has a natural and fundamental obligation to support his wife, children, and parents for as long as they are unable to do so on their own.

In Jayashri Rajwade V. Vibhas Kulkarni

The Bombay High Court ruled that "the husband's application under section 125 of the Code is certainly not maintainable" if there is a legal prohibition on his claiming maintenance from his wife under section 125 of the Code. He may proceed to Civil Court to prove his right to maintenance, but the Magistrate cannot grant him support in accordance with his authority under Section 125 of the Code.

Additionally, under sections 24 and 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, a Hindu male may request maintenance.

Essential requirements for permitting maintenance:

  1. Enough resources to maintain.
    The individual from whom maintenance is demanded must have enough money to support the person or people who are asking for maintenance. Here, the word "means" refers to more than just outward things like tangible possessions or steady job.
  2. Ignorance or failure to uphold.
    The person from whom maintenance is demanded must have ignored or refused to maintain the person or individuals who are entitled to maintenance.

    In contrast to "refuse," which denotes a failure to maintain or a denial of an obligation to maintain after demand, "neglect" refers to a default or omission in the absence of a demand.
  3. The person requesting maintenance must be unable to care for themselves.
    Due to the fact that the primary goal of Section 125 of the Code is to prevent vagrancy, only those who are unable to care for themselves should be subject to the duty to pay maintenance. An essential need for the wife's application for maintenance is that she must be unable to support herself.


A person seeking maintenance may submit an application to a Magistrate in any of the following places, according to Section 126 of the CrPC:
  1. The address of the applicant's residence or place of business.
  2. The place of residence or principal place of business of the person from whom maintenance is demanded.
  3. The last place the maintenance-seeker lived with the individual for whom maintenance is being sought.
  4. Where the person whose maintenance is demanded works or maintains a business.

The several jurisdictions are listed so that the individual seeking maintenance can submit their application easily and in a place that is convenient for them. It also makes it possible to implement maintenance directives effectively.

Arrangement or termination of allowance s. 127
According to Sub-Section 1 of Section 127, where a maintenance order has been granted under Section 125, the amount specified therein may be changed based on a change in the circumstances of the person receiving or the person paying the amount.

According to Section 127's Subsection 2, the magistrate is required to rescind or modify any orders made under Section 125 when he believes that doing so is necessary as a result of a competent civil court's decision.

The magistrate may revoke the maintenance order granted to a divorced wife in one of three situations, as outlined in subsection 3. If she has remarried, has received the full amount due to her under any personal or customary law, or has willingly relinquished the right that she had obtained through a judge order.

Enforcement of maintenance order [s. 128]
In the case that any person thus ordered fails to comply with the order without good reason, any such Magistrate may issue a warrant for the collection of the sum due in the manner indicated for collecting fines.

The magistrate has the power to hold the offender in custody for a maximum of one month or until the debt is paid, whichever occurs first.

Any magistrate in any location where the person against whom the order is made may carry out such an order after being satisfied with the parties' names and the non-payment of the allowance or, as the case may be, costs, due.

Although these provisions deal with civil matters, their inclusion in the CrPC is primarily justified by the fact that the needy individuals they reference are given access to a remedy that is quicker and more cost-effective than what is offered by civil courts. The provisions seek to ensure that the neglected wife, children, and parents are not left beggar and destitute on the scrap heap of society and are not compelled to live a life of vagrancy, immorality, and crime for their sustenance by providing simple, quick, but limited relief. It could also be said that these provisions are intended to prevent starvation and vagrancy leading to the commission of the crime.

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