Delhi High Court: Subramonium Prasad, J., reiterated the law relating to the territorial jurisdiction of the court to entertain a petition under Section 125 CrPC.

Instant petition was directed against the decision of Family Court wherein it dismissed the application filed by the petitioner husband under Section 126 CrPC stating that based on the documents submitted by the respondent wife, she is presumably staying in Delhi, and therefore, the jurisdiction for purposes of maintenance under Section 125 CrPC would be Delhi. The petitioner stated that the matrimonial home was in fact in Faridabad.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure pertains to the Maintenance that is to be given by a man to their wife, parents and children in order for them to sustain themselves.

It is a tool for social justice enacted to ensure that women and children are protected from a life of potential vagrancy and destitution.

The Supreme Court has consistently upheld that the conceptualisation 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 statutory provision entails that 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.

In the Supreme Court decision of Bhuwan Mohan Singh v. Meena, (2015) 6 SCC 353, Supreme Court examined the underlying purpose as well as the social context of Section 125 of the Code.

Further, while deciding the matter of maintenance, it is important for the Court to bear in mind that technicalities such as jurisdiction should not impede the object that is sought to be achieved by a provision such as Section 125 CrPC which is essentially social welfare legislation.

The Bench stated that the Principal Judge carefully analysed the material on record before coming to the conclusion that territorial jurisdiction of the Court can be conferred in the case which has been instituted by the respondent/wife.

Adding to the above, Court noted that as per Section 126 CrPC, proceedings under Section 125 CrPC may be instituted against any person in any district where he is, or where he or his wife resides, or where he last resided with his wife, or as the case may be, with the mother of the illegitimate child.

Lastly, while concluding the matter, High Court expressed that as per the impugned Order herein, the fact that the parents of the Respondent/wife have two houses, i.e. one in Faridabad and the other in Vasant Kunj, Delhi, can only mean that territorial jurisdiction can be conferred in both Faridabad as well as Delhi.

Hence, the Court opined that the decision of Principal Judge was well-reasoned and there was no legal infirmity in the same. [Shikhar Goel v. Robina Kaushik, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 4989, decided on 16-11-2021]

Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Roma Bhagat, Advocate along with petitioner-in person

For the Respondent: None

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  • The question remains partly answered as nothing related to the pecuniary jurisdiction was discussed.
    Agreed that a man cannot shirk from his ‘familial’ duty to maintain wife, children and parents as the case may be. His obligation becomes quite questionable when wife no longer behaves as part of the family and there is a separate living for more than a decade. There are several other open issues which the famous RajneshNeha judgement doesn’t address at all. It must be well understood that when the ‘familial’ bondage is malfunctioning, the question of obligations does become debatable. The law talked about sufficient means. Sufficient in comparison to the ask by petitioner or in comparison to address the objective of prevention from destitution and vagrancy. Unfortunately even this law is quite misused for a quick and easy money. Very similar to the misuse of 498a IPC that is being noticed in the press.

  • The article is helpful.

  • […] Where can a petition under S. 125 CrPC be filed? […]

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