Legal Article

Section 125 CrPC: The Struggles of Achieving its Fundamental Objectives

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow

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Published on: 6 Aug, 2023

India, with its vast and complex legal framework, has been at the forefront of evolving laws that aim to ensure justice, equity, and protection for all its citizens. One such provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is Section 125, which is designed to provide a legal remedy for neglected persons to seek maintenance. However, it’s undeniable that many husbands, for various reasons, try to frustrate the basic objectives embedded within this section. This blog post aims to delve into the intricacies of Section 125 and understand the challenges faced in realizing its primary goals.

1. Section 125 CrPC: An Overview

Section 125 CrPC is a provision that ensures that no spouse, child, or parent is left destitute or without financial support. It mandates that if a person with sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain his wife, child, or parents, the Magistrate can order him to make a monthly allowance for their maintenance.

2. Fundamental Objectives of Section 125

The section intends to:

  • Ensure that individuals, especially women and children, are not left in a state of penury or financial neglect.
  • Provide a quick and efficient remedy against the neglect of persons who cannot support themselves.
  • Prevent vagrancy by ensuring that family members provide for those who are unable to maintain themselves.

3. Challenges in Achieving the Objectives

A. Concealment of Actual Earnings

One of the most common tactics employed by husbands is to hide their actual income. They may provide false documentation, under-report earnings, or even temporarily switch jobs to show reduced earnings.

While Section 125 is designed to offer a speedy remedy, many husbands resort to protracting the legal process. By filing multiple appeals, seeking unnecessary adjournments, or complicating matters, they make the process tedious, often causing emotional and financial drain on the claimant.

C. Misrepresentation

False allegations, such as infidelity, misconduct, or the wife having sufficient means, are sometimes used to counter the claims and thwart the provision’s objectives.

D. Property Transfers

Some husbands transfer their property or assets to family members or trusted aides to show that they don’t have the means to provide maintenance, thereby attempting to circumvent the court’s order.

E. Non-Compliance with Court Orders

Even when an order is passed, compliance can be an issue. There are instances where husbands, despite court orders, fail to provide the stipulated maintenance amount.

4. Countermeasures & Judicial Activism

To curb such evasion tactics:

  • Courts have started considering ‘lifestyle’ as evidence. If a husband lives a lavish lifestyle but claims inability to pay, the contradiction can be used against him.
  • If a husband is found to be wilfully unemployed, the court can consider the potential earning capacity rather than actual earnings.
  • Non-compliance with court orders can lead to strict penalties, including imprisonment.

Conclusion

Section 125 of the CrPC is a testament to India’s commitment to ensuring that no person is left without financial support or maintenance. However, the challenges in realizing its objectives highlight the gaps between legal provisions and ground realities. It calls for collective societal introspection and renewed judicial vigor to ensure that the spirit of the law is upheld and not thwarted by individuals aiming to sidestep their responsibilities.