Delhi High Court: Expressing that husband must also carry the financial burden of making certain that his children are capable of attaining a position in a society wherein they can sufficiently maintain themselves, Subramonium Prasad, J., stated that,

In households wherein the women are working and are earning sufficiently to maintain themselves, it does not automatically mean that the husband is absolved of his responsibility to provide sustenance for his children. 

“…if the husband has sufficient means, he is obligated to maintain his wife and children, and not shirk away from his moral and familial responsibilities.”

Instant application under Section 482 Criminal Procedure Code had been filed seeking the review of this Court’s order, wherein this Court had granted a sum of Rs 15,000 as interim maintenance to the revisionist/Petitioner 1 till Petitioner 2 completes his graduation or starts earning, whichever is earlier.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court expressed that the embargo contained in Section 362 CrPC, which prohibits the Court from altering or reviewing its judgment or final order disposing of the case was inapplicable to the maintenance order passed under Section 125 CrPC.

In the Supreme Court decision of Sanjeev Kapoor v. Chandana Kapoor, (2020) 13 SCC 172, the Supreme Court had observed that the legislature was aware that there were situations where altering or reviewing of criminal court judgment were contemplates in the Code itself or any other law for the time being in force.

Noting that Section 125 CrPC was social justice legislation, the Supreme Court held that a closer look at Section 125 CrPC itself indicated that the Court after passing judgment or final order in the proceedings under Section 125 CrPC did not become functus officio, and that the Section itself contains express provisions wherein an Order passed under Section 125 CrPC could be cancelled or altered, and that this was noticeable from Sections 125(1), 125(5) and 127 CrPC. Therefore, the legislative scheme as delineated by Sections 125 and 127 CrPC clearly enumerates circumstances and incidents provided in the Code where the Court passing a judgement or final order disposing of the case can alter or review the same. The embargo as contained in Section 362 is, thus, relaxed in proceedings under Section 125 CrPC.

Bench stated that Supreme Court has consistently upheld that the conceptualization of Section 125 was meant to ameliorate the financial suffering of a woman who had left her matrimonial home; it is a means to secure the woman’s sustenance, along with that of the children, if any.

The dominant purpose of Section 125 of the Code was discussed in the Supreme Court decision of Kirtikant D. Vadodaria v. State of Gujarat, (1996) 4 SCC 479.

High Court added to its analysis, that it is true that in the majority of households, women are unable to work due to sociocultural as well as structural impediments, and, thus, cannot financially support themselves. However, in households wherein the women are working and are earning sufficiently to maintain themselves, it does not automatically mean that the husband is absolved of his responsibility to provide sustenance for his children.

Father has an equal duty to provide for his children and there cannot be a situation wherein it is only the mother who has to bear the burden of expenses for raising and educating the children.

 Court cannot shut its eyes to the reality that simply attaining majority does not translate into the understanding that the major son is earning sufficiently.

To elaborate more, High Court added that,

At the age of 18, it can be safely assumed that the son is either graduating from 12th standard or is in his first year of college. More often than not, it does not place him in a position wherein he can earn to sustain or maintain himself. It further places the entire burden on the mother to bear the expenses of educating the children without any contribution from the father, and this Court cannot countenance such a situation.

It was also noted that the Supreme Court and High Courts in a slew of judgments upheld the maintenance allowance granted to a son post attaining majority on the ground that the father has a duty to finance basic education of the child and that the child cannot be deprived of his right to be educated due to his parents getting divorced.

Present Matter

In the present matter, the challenge to the maintenance granted for the education of the major son has been mounted by the respondent on the ground that it is contrary to the relevant statutory provision i.e. Section 125, and that it diametrically opposes the interpretation of Section 125 as has been laid down in Amarendra Kumar Paul v. Maya Paul, (2009) 8 SCC 359.

High Court noted that statutes or provisions, which are particularly for the furtherance of social welfare, must be construed liberally.

In Indian Handicrafts Emporium v. Union of India, (2003) 7 SCC 589, the Supreme Court had observed that the best textual interpretation of legislation or a statutory provision would be one that would match the contextual. Therefore, in this context, social welfare legislation cannot and should not be interpreted in a narrow manner because doing so will defeat the purpose for the enactment of such legislation and will become counterproductive.

Context of Section 125 CrPC is to ensure that the wife and the children of the husband are not left in a state of destitution after the divorce.

“Mother cannot be burdened with the entire expenditure on the education of her son just because he has completed 18 years of age, and the father cannot be absolved of all responsibilities to meet the education expenses of his son because the son may have attained the age of majority, but may not be financially independent and could be incapable of sustaining himself.”

 In view of the above, the application was dismissed. [Urvashi Aggarwal v. Inderpaul Aggarwal, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 4641, decided on 5-10-2021]

Advocates before the Court:

 For Petitioner: Praveen Suri and Komal Chhibber, Advocates

For Respondent: Digvijay Ray and Aman Yadav, Advocates

Must Watch

maintenance to second wife

bail in false pretext of marriage

right to procreate of convict

Criminology, Penology and Victimology book release


  • I agree with Adarsh.
    The thinking of the Hon`ble judges is fatally flawed. Instead of applying law, they have started making laws in lieu of legislature. No such intent nor power to impose personal jurisdiction has been granted to any judge. If a particular judicial officer feels that law ought to be changes, he must show what efforts he has undertaken to take up the issues with legislature or law ministry or law and judicary etc. Just because he can, he should not. Just because police can arrest, they must not. Such judgments are only applicable to particular situations eg. disability and cannot be applied to all.

    I find it funny that when the millenials think they are smarter, stronger and connected, shouldnt they be encourgaed to work part time to teach them value of hard work. For far too long parents and particularly fathers have been saddled with huge educational expenses only for the child to flee the country or neglect his/her parents and worse treat parents cruelly and try to usurp their hard earned property and money.

    Thirdly has anyone noticed the deep defect in maintenance as applied to girl child/women?
    As a minor, under HMA 24, both parents are legally bound to look after and pay for them, fathers bearing a unduly large component whether they get access or not from wife to the child. After majority the father is supposed to maintain. In CrPC 125, the father is supposed to pay maintenance to daughter until she MARRIES!!!!! The melords in all their patriarchal collective wishdom have already decided that the girl must get marries. If she does not timely, woe betide the father.
    Strangely, after girl-child gets married, lo and behold, instantly the onus of providing maintenance to such a wife LIFELONG till she divorces, remarries or dies shifts upon the husband.
    Could someone tell me when exactly the daughter is “independant” or rather not-dependant or rather when does societal responsibility on such a woman cease? Never. This cannot be right in the 21st century with man going to mars soon.
    So the judgment as we are discussing is not only wrong, its mischievous, its misinterpreted by someone who thinks he is above law himself and does not know when or how to curb his white-horse riding- shiny-armour knighthood should stop. He must be made to realise he is not law, he only follows law, interprets law only when gray zone is detected and does not give away and award monies which he himself would not fritter away.

  • It’s nice n something good to know abt125crpc .thanks

  • This is a totally wrong judgement. The aggrieved husband must approach the honorable supreme court for relief. One a child turns 18, he/she is an adult. Hence he/she must fend for himself/herself. There is no compulsion for parents to take care of their expenses. In this case, what if the man’s son does not complete his graduation or does not start earning till 25? Does Delhi High Court expect his father to take care of his expenses til then?

    • Most of the 18 year olds in this country, are dependent on their parents for their higher education, which is at least up until achieving the undergraduate degree.
      There is also a deep seated pattern wherein Indian families exercise control over their child’s life and pertinent decisions for as long as they are alive, so what you’re suggesting is completely absurd – Father has a moral and familial obligation to at least support the son’s undergraduate education, as is the norm in Indian Families.

      While the husband has remarried and established a new family does not absolve him of his responsibilities towards a son already born. Termination of a marriage between husband and wife does not make the child illegitimate.

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.