Calcutta High Court: Stressing on legal liability as well as moral obligation to pay maintenance to parents, Kausik Chanda, J. held that when the stepfather fulfils same responsibility as a biological father would have then the stepson is also obligated to provide maintenance to him. And also, biological mother always has the right to maintenance from her son even if she remarries.
Facts of the Case
The petitioner, Sunil Debsharma, lost his father in his early childhood. Petitioner’s mother, Fuldi Debsharma (Opposite party no. 3) remarried Thelu Debsharma (Opposite party no. 2) when he was aged about 3 years. Thelu was a widower, who had a son and two daughters from his first marriage. Sunil was raised by his biological mother and stepfather along with his step siblings. Fuldi and Thelu filed an application under S. 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 seeking maintenance from Sunil.
Issues for consideration:
Whether a stepfather is entitled to get maintenance from his stepson?
Whether a mother after her remarriage is entitled to be maintained by her son from the previous marriage?
Court’s Observation and Analysis
The Court pointed he the legal liability to pay maintenance to parents under S. 125 of CrPC arises out of the moral obligation of children as they have a reciprocal obligation towards their parents for the unconditional love and affection and immense sacrifices that they have made to raise them.
Taking into account, the fact that no case was made out that Thelu being a stepfather has not taken due care of the petitioner or has not shown his love and affection towards him, the Court held that stepfather can claim maintenance from the petitioner leaving aside his biological children. Moreover, the Court held that for the same reason the biological mother who has contracted a second marriage has a right to claim maintenance from her son. The Court stated that
“When a stepfather fulfills the same responsibilities as the biological father, a stepson cannot deny his obligation to maintain him. For the same reason, a biological mother, who has contracted the second marriage, has always a right to claim maintenance from her son.”
[Sunil Debsharma v. State of W.B., 2022 SCC OnLine Cal 2491, decided on 30.08.2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case:
Mr. Nanigopal Sarkar and Mr. Devranjan Das, Counsel for the Petitioner.
*Ritu Singh, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.