Section 125: Order for maintenance of wives, children and parents
(1) If any person having sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain-
(a) his wife, unable to maintain herself, or
(b) his legitimate or illegitimate minor child, whether married or not, unable to maintain itself, or
(c) his legitimate or illegitimate child (not being a married daughter) who has attained majority, where such child is, by reason of any physical or mental abnormality or injury unable to maintain itself, or
(d) his father or mother, unable to maintain himself or herself
a Magistrate of the first class may, upon proof of such neglect or refusal, order such person to make a monthly allowance for the maintenance of his wife or such child, father or mother, at such monthly rate not exceeding five hundred rupees in the whole, as such Magistrate thinks fit, and to pay the same to such person as the Magistrate may from time to time direct:
Provided that the Magistrate may order the father of a minor female child referred to in clause (b) to make such allowance, until she attains her majority, if the Magistrate is satisfied that the husband of such minor female child, if married, is not possessed of sufficient means.
Provided further that the Magistrate may, during the pendency of the proceeding regarding monthly allowance for the maintenance under this sub-section, order such person to make a monthly allowance for the interim maintenance of his wife or such child, father or mother, and the expenses of such proceeding which the Magistrate considers reasonable, and t pay the same to such person as the Magistrate may from time to time direct:
Provided also that an application for the monthly allowance for the interim maintenance and expenses of proceeding under the second proviso shall, as far as possible, be disposed of within sixty days from the date the service of notice of the application to such person.
Explanation.- For the purposes of this Chapter,-
(a) ” minor” means a person who, under the provisions of the Indian Majority Act, 1875 (9 of 1875 ); is deemed not to have attained his majority;
(b) ” wife” includes a woman who has been divorced by, or has obtained a divorce from, her husband and has not remarried.
(2) Such allowance shall be payable from the date of the order, or, if so ordered, from the date of the application for maintenance.
(3) If any person so ordered fails without sufficient cause to comply with the order, any such Magistrate may, for every breach of the order, issue a warrant for levying the amount due in the manner provided for levying fines, and may sentence such person, for the whole or any part of each month’ s allowances remaining unpaid after the execution of the warrant, to imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or until payment if sooner made:
Provided that no warrant shall be issued for the recovery of any amount due under this section unless application be made to the Court to levy such amount within a period of one year from the date on which it became due:
Provided further that if such person offers to maintain his wife on condition of her living with him, and she refuses to live with him, such Magistrate may consider any grounds of refusal stated by her, and may make an order under this section notwithstanding such offer, if he is satisfied that there is just ground for so doing.
Explanation.- If a husband has contracted marriage with another woman or keeps a mistress, it shall be considered to be just ground for his wife’ s refusal to live with him.
(4) No Wife shall be entitled to receive an allowance from her husband under this section if she is living in adultery, or if, without any sufficient reason, she refuses to live with her husband, or if they are living separately by mutual consent.
(5) On proof that any wife in whose favour an order has been made under this section is living in adultery, or that without sufficient reason she refuses to live with her husband, or that they are living separately by mutual consent, the Magistrate shall cancel the order.
Purpose of section 125 crpc
Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in India serves the crucial purpose of providing a legal remedy for the maintenance of certain categories of individuals who are unable to maintain themselves financially. The primary objectives of Section 125 CrPC are as follows:
- Ensuring Social Justice and Welfare: The provision aims to ensure social justice and the welfare of vulnerable sections of society, including wives, children, and parents who may not have adequate financial support to meet their basic needs and necessities.
- Preventing Destitution: Section 125 CrPC acts as a preventive measure against destitution and alleviates the financial distress of those individuals who have no means of sustenance. It ensures that they are not left to fend for themselves in dire circumstances.
- Providing Immediate Relief: The provision offers an expeditious and summary remedy, providing immediate relief to eligible individuals in need of maintenance. The objective is to ensure that the maintenance claimants do not suffer undue delays in obtaining financial support.
- Promoting Gender Equality: Section 125 CrPC plays a crucial role in promoting gender equality by allowing wives to claim maintenance from their husbands. It recognizes the socio-economic reality where women may be financially dependent on their spouses and ensures that they are not left without financial support in case of neglect or refusal to maintain.
- Protecting the Rights of Children: The provision safeguards the rights of minor children, both legitimate and illegitimate, by allowing them to claim maintenance from their parents. It ensures that children’s basic needs, including food, clothing, education, and medical care, are adequately met.
- Filial Responsibility: Section 125 CrPC recognizes the filial responsibility of children to provide maintenance to their aged and infirm parents who are unable to maintain themselves.
- Secular Provision: The provision is secular in nature and is applicable to individuals from all religions and communities. It upholds the principle of equal treatment before the law and provides maintenance irrespective of the religious affiliation of the parties involved.
- Reducing Dependency on State: By providing maintenance through private individuals (spouse, parents, children), Section 125 CrPC reduces the burden on the state welfare system, allowing public resources to be directed toward other social welfare initiatives.
Overall, Section 125 CrPC plays a crucial role in addressing the socio-economic imbalances within society and ensures that the basic needs of deserving individuals, particularly women, children, and elderly parents, are met by those who have the financial capacity to provide support. It contributes to the overall well-being of society by fostering a sense of responsibility and care among family members and promoting social justice.