Del HC | [Maintenance] Provisions of S. 125 CrPC are for the welfare of neglected wives, children and parents

Delhi High Court: Manoj Kumar Ohri, J., while addressing the present petition against the order of family Court wherein the petitioner’s maintenance petition under Section 125 CrPC was dismissed, held that,

“Merely because the wife is ‘capable of earning’ is not a sufficient reason to deny her the maintenance.”

Petitioner’s counsel contended that Family Court wrongly came to the conclusion that petitioner’s testimony in absence of any documentary evidence was unreliable. It erred in not recording a finding with respect to the income of the respondent and the maintenance sought by petitioner.

Respondent’s counsel submitted that petitioner had passed the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) exam and was capable of earning. Further, it stated that the petitioner was more qualified than the respondent and could maintain herself.

High Court’s Decision

Court noted that in the maintenance petition it was mentioned that respondent used to demand a Santro car despite the fact that one motorcycle was given in dowry.  During the petitioner’s pregnancy, she was physically assaulted by the respondent and his family members that resulted in her miscarriage.

On one occasion she was physically assaulted and thrown out of the matrimonial home, hence she had to live separately as the respondent was deserted and she had no other source of income.

Family Court had disbelieved petitioner’s testimony on the ground that no documentary evidence was placed in support of her allegations.

“It is well settled by catena of judicial precedents that the provisions of Section 125 CrPC are for the welfare of the neglected wives, children and parents and that provisions should construed liberally.”

Court stated that family court failed to take into account the petitioner’s claim that she was forced to leave the matrimonial home on account of dowry demands and physical assault. And petitioner’s testimony was supported by her complaint to the CAW Cell which was proved on record.

Bench also found the averment in her petition that specifically averred that she had no source of income and was totally dependent on her father. The respondent being employed had sufficient means to maintain her.

Expression “unable to maintain herself” does not mean that the wife must be absolutely destitute before she can apply for maintenance under Section 125 of CrPC.

For the above, Court referred to the Supreme Court decision in, Vinny Parmvir Parmar v. Parmvir Parmar, (2011) 13 SCC 112. Along with this, Court also observed the decision of the Supreme Court in Sunita Kachwaha. v. Anil Kachwaha, (2014) 16 SCC 715.

Thus, in view of the above, the High Court held that impugned order is to be set aside and matter to be remanded back to the family court for fresh consideration. [Anita v. Amit, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 468, decided on 24-02-2020]

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