Stepmother is entitled for maintenance under section 125 crpc

Question asked on: 12/02/2019

I am a destitute lady; my husband died in the year 2000. My stepson is refusing to maintain me, and I have no child. Can I claim maintenance from my stepson?

Advised by: Shivendra Pratap Singh,

If the mother is living under destitution, she is entitled to maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (crpc). She can claim maintenance from her son if he is capable of maintaining his mother. The court can fix a monthly allowance if the son has sufficient means and refuses to give financial support to his mother.

The important question for consideration is whether stepmother can invoke section 125 against her stepson? The word mother includes the real mother. The plain reading of section 125 infers that only the real mother can get monetary help from her son.

But the Supreme Court is so many judgments held that section 125 is social legislation. This section has a tremendous societal impact; hence, the court should make a liberal interpretation. The critical question is whether a childless stepmother should be left on the mercy of God, whereas her husband has died.  

In Kirtikant D. Vadodaria v. State of Gujrat (1996) 4 SCC 479; the Supreme Court has held that however section 125 is silent about the right to maintenance of stepmother, but this section needs to be interpreted liberally. The court further held that a childless stepmother is entitled to maintenance from her stepson under section 125 crpc.

It is mandatory for invoking section 125 CrPC that the stepmother should be childless and has no source to maintain herself. Section 125 is special legislation enacted to save the life of wife, children and parents from destitution. Maintenance includes food, lodging, health care and supply of things manifested as essential for living.

You should file an application before the first class Magistrate under section 125 CrPC. You must adduce these facts in the said application:

  1. You are living in destitution and have no other source of income to maintain herself.
  2. Your husband and died, and you have no child except the stepson.
  3. The stepson has sufficient means to maintain, but he refuses or neglects to extend financial support.

Furthermore, there is no limitation period for invoking this section. Whenever you find herself in financial hardship or the grim situation that financial support is necessary, you can invoke this section.

The court will grant a monthly allowance in the form of maintenance. In the meantime, you can also claim interim maintenance until the passing of a final order. 

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Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate, Lucknow

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