Maintenance is the process of maintaining or preserving someone. A state of
providing financial support for a person’s living expenses or a support so much
in need of. The term has been generally interpreted to include food, clothing
and shelter. The dictionary meaning of the term maintenance is support or
Maintenance is not defined under CrPC, it is defined under section 3(b) of Hindu
Adoption and Maintenance Act ,1956
- In all cases, provision for food, clothing, residence, education and
- In the case of an unmarried daughter also the reasonable expense of
incident to her marriage.
S-125-128 of the code had made provisions for the maintenance of wife, children
and parents. S-125 is a substantive provision conferring right of maintenance on
certain individuals even though the code is a procedural law.
The court is to look into the possession of the property of both, the husband
and the wife, ability of the husband to earn, conduct of the parties and other
circumstances to decide the amount of maintenance. Before fixing the amount of
maintenance the status of the parties and the standard of their life enjoyed by
them, during the subsistence of marriage will have to be taken into
Sec-125 of CrPC-
If any person having sufficient means neglects or refuses to
maintain his wife, his legitimate or illegitimate minor children whether married
or not, and his father or mother unable to maintain themselves, the magistrate
of first class upon proof of refusal or neglect direct such person to make
monthly allowances and pay the same from time to time.
Constitutional Validity: Article 15 (3) of the Constitution states that nothing shall prevent
state from making laws for women and children and therefore, Sec. 125of CrPC is
According to Art. 39 of Constitution, men and women equally have the
right to an adequate livelihood.
Sec. 125 CrPC safeguards the rights of women, children and parents which are
weaker sections of the society and therefore cannot be said to be arbitrary to
Amendments: Sec-125 of Crpc was amended in the year 2001
- Ceiling of rs.500 was removed. (previously maintenance at a monthly rate
not exceeding rs.500).
- Introduction of interim maintenance along with expenses of proceedings.
- Disposal of interim maintenance application within 60 days.
U/S 125 CrPC the first class magistrate may upon proof grant both interim
and permanent maintenance and every claimant mentioned in the section can use
this irrespective of caste and religion.
Who may Claim maintenance:
Vijaya manohari Arbat v/s Kashirao Rajaram sawai
- Any person’s wife who is unable to maintain herself can claim
maintenance from such person even if she is a minor.
- Only a legally wedded wife can get maintenance and second wife and
mistress can’t get maintenance.
- A woman is not entitled to claim maintenance merely because she had
stayed together with a person.
- A wife who has been divorced and has not been remarried is entitled to
- Strict proof of marriage should not be a precondition for maintenance
under sec-125 of CrPC held by HC of Uttarakhand in the case of Kamala Devi V. state of
- The SC held in Chanmuniya V. Virendra kumar singh that a when a man and a
woman have been living together as husband and wife for reasonably long period
of time , and strict proof of marriage shouldn’t be a precondition for
maintenance U/S 125 CrPC.
- Kamala & Ors V. Mohan kumar  The SC held that proceeding U/S 125 CrPC are
summary in nature. It reiterated the law laid down in Chanmuniya V. Virendar
- Second wife is also entitled to maintenance- SC held this in the case of Badshah
v. Urmila Badshah Godse  that victims of a bigamous marriage are entitled to
- MUSLIM WOMEN are also ENTITLED to claim maintenance U/S 125 of CrPC
- SC in the Landmark judgement of Mohd. Ahmed khan V. Shah Bano Begum  held
that muslim women are entitled to maintenance U/S 125 of CrPC even after Iddat
- Shabana Bano v. Imran Khan  In 2009 SC reiterated the principle held in
Shah Bano  case and said that Muslim women can claim maintenance as long as
she doesn’t remarry even after completion of Iddat period.
- Legitimate or illegitimate minor child, whether married or not unable to
maintain itself can claim maintenance held by Allahabad HC in Ramachandra Giri
V. Ram Surat Giri 
- Major handicapped child is entitled to claim maintenance held by Gujarat
HC in YasinBhai V. Rizvanbanu .
- The liability of father will continue to maintain his married minor
daughter till she attains majority, if her husband is a minor too.
- Unmarried major daughter is entitled to claim maintenance from father
till she is married.
- Right of child to claim maintenance from father is independent from that
of the mother.
- A person has to maintain his father or mother who are unable to maintain
- Such persons include step father or mother Or Adoptive parents.
- A married daughter may also be held responsible for maintaining her
 SC in this case said that
married daughter is also liable to pay maintenance.
Conditions for granting maintenance:
- For being entitled for maintenance u/s 125 CrPC the applicant must be unable
to maintain himself/herself.
- The respondent against whom maintenance is claimed must have sufficient
means to maintain the applicant.
- A wife claiming maintenance-
- Must not be living in adultery
- Must not have refused to live with her husband without sufficient
- Must not by living separately by mutual consent.
Quantum of maintenance:
- If the above mentioned conditions are not satisfied
- Where application is made by wife, Husband can contest that:
- She is living in adultery with another person
- She refuses to stay with him without sufficient reasons.
- They are living separately by mutual consent.
- If the civil court passes order in above cases
- If such woman remarries.
- Father can take the ground that there is no physical or mental
disability if the application is made by a major son.
- Father can take the ground that husband of the minor daughter has
sufficient means to maintain herself, the application is made by a minor
Considering the facts and circumstances of the case the
magistrate may grant any amount of maintenance.
This maintenance can be altered or cancelled with respect to change in
- Sec-125 CrPC is a secular law and any citizen can use it irrespective of
caste & religion.
- Only women, children and parents can claim maintenance under this
- Major son is entitled only if he is physically or mentally disabled.
- Parents can claim maintenance from natural or adoptive children.
- The remedy under sec-125 CrPC is speedy and inexpensive as compared to
- Magistrate is empowered to grant both interim & permanent maintenance
under this section.
- Maintenance granted can be altered or cancelled with respect to the
change in conditions.
- (2013), Crl Mis Application (C-482) No.828 of 2010
- (2011) 1 SCC 141
- (2018) SCC online SC 2121
- (2014) 1 SCC 188
- AIR (1985) SCR (3) 844
- (2009) 1 SCC 666
- (2011), Appeal no: 2593 of 2011
- AIR (1987) SC 1100
Written By: K. Umamaheswar