This article on ‘Critical Analysis of Section 125 CRPC‘ was written by Tanaya Khilari an intern at Legal Upanishad.
The Code of criminal procedure popularly known as CRPC is the law maintaining and defining the regulations and provisions for trying crimes in India. There are various sections provided in the CRPC with Sec 125 being an important section of the code. This article analyses in detail the Provision of sec 125 of the CRPC. It examines the various rules, regulations, and fundamentals of the section and lays down case laws concerning it.
The section came into existence to provide the right to receive maintenance of wife, child, and parents by the male member of the family. This provision of providing maintenance to women and children has been in existence in many traditional laws as well including the Muslim Act of maintaining the basic needs of wife and child by the male member. There are various exceptions and limitations to the law and provides new judgments concerning it. However, along with the right to impose the duty to maintain, the code also provides the right to apply for revision under other mentioned sections.
Scope and applicability
The code introduced section 125 to provide maintenance of the wife, child, and parents by the male member of the family. It mentions that if the male member is well sufficient to provide for the maintenance of his family members, he should do the same without any delays and reasons. This section is applicable all over India and provides the summary procedure to provide maintenance to the dependents. The section should be construed to provide justice, primarily social justice to the family members especially the women and the children who are generally subject to violence and injustice.
This law is also aimed to provide maintenance provisions to divorcees and socially deprived wives. Maintenance of wives and family members is a topic of personal law however it should not be only restricted to the same. A legal provision was essential and hence was introduced in the following section. This section was introduced before 2001 but due to the long pendency of cases, the 2001 amendment was introduced to provide interim maintenance. This ensured give decision-making of cases and also provided quick justice to the complainant or the other party.
This amendment is listed in section 125(3) and is considered somewhat inconsistent with Articles 21 and 14 of the Indian Constitution which relates to the protection of life and liberty and also personal rights.
What was the need for this Section 125?
Every human being has a right to a sound and safe living environment. Women, children, and elderly people are usually the object of violence or are usually the ones suffering injustice upon them. Articles 14 and 21 have preached and given the provisions for the safety of life and liberty and also made people recognize and be aware of their rights essential for their living. The maintenance provided to them is one such aspect of the right to a safe and sound life for such women and children as well as the elderly.
Many personal laws have provided for the same for ages. However, these provisions and methodologies differ in each personal law. Under Muslim law, there is a place for the maintenance provision for women and children. The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act also provides for the same mentioning that wife, child, and elderly are due for maintenance. Similar provisions are given in many other laws and also promote the maintenance of these individuals. However, this traditional inclusion of the provision was not considered sufficient due to the rising cases of injustice and violence against them. Hence came into existence in section 125 of CrPC.
Regulations and restrictions under Section 125
As mentioned above the section provides the maintenance of the wife, child, and elderly by the male member. The male member is required to give or provide monthly maintenance to such individuals. There are certain rules for the same. The section provides that for the male member to be liable to provide this maintenance, he must be self-sufficient for the same. This should be present even when the husband and the wife are divorced. It means he should be self-sufficient even during the time of his divorce from his wife.
The section also provides certain restrictions. These include that the wife should not be separated from the husband on insufficient grounds, and she should not be living in adultery. This restriction is prevalent even when the couple is living separately with mutual consent. The wife should also not be able to support herself during her divorce. This provision stands canceled when the wife re-marries.
As is the provision applicable to women, it also provides provisions for the maintenance of children. These children include the legitimate as well as the illegitimate children of the male member. He is entitled to provide maintenance when these children are not able to support and maintain themselves with reasonable assistance. Minor as well as major children are provided maintenance when they face certain injuries or abnormalities concerning physical or mental aspects. Various other additions and amendments have been made in this section during the prevailing years providing an impact on the rights and maintenance of women and children.
Intermin measures of Section 125 under 125(3)
The Indian judiciary system even though sufficient, takes a long time to provide judgments and decisions on cases. Due to this inconsistency, after 2001 there was an amendment made in section 125 of CrPC to provide faster disbursement of cases concerning the maintenance of the wife, children, and elderly by the male members. This amendment was introduced in section 125(3). Case of recovery of maintenance and interim maintenance can be done in this section by issuing the warrant. However, in certain cases, this interim maintenance is considered inconsistent with Articles14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.
Important case laws under the Act
The section defines that the male member is supposed to provide maintenance to the wife, children, and parents.
A daughter is also liable to pay maintenance to her parents. This was determined in the case of Dr. Vijaya Manohar Arbat vs. Kashirao Rajaram Sawai & another.
Facts: This case was initiated by the father under section 125(1)(d) for maintenance from his daughter. He claimed that a married daughter is capable of maintaining her parents. It is irrelevant if the child is a daughter or a son, they will need to provide for their parents and not drive them to the point of starving. This maintenance will be considered binding when the daughter along with her husband is self-sufficient to support her parents.
Another important case law was the Kirtikant D. Vadodaria vs. the State of Gujarat and another (1996(4) SCC 479).
Facts: In this case, it was determined that the stepmother is also eligible to receive maintenance. This right is given when the mother is a widow or if her husband is alive, he is not self-sufficient to provide. In this scenario, the stepmother is entitled to receive maintenance from the children.
Provisions have also been introduced to set aside or revise the decision announced by courts in such cases. One such instance is given in the case of Masud Ahmed v. the State of Bihar.
Facts: In this case, the claimant approached the High Court to set aside the decision given by the court to provide his ex-wife with the maintenance of rupees 3000. He was also required to provide maintenance to his children at 2000 per month. He disregarded the decision claiming that his wife was self-sufficient and did not require any maintenance. The court reviewed the order and withdrew the decision of providing maintenance to the wife.
This social welfare-derived section is important for the legislature and the country and many important judgments have been passed in the following years giving significance and importance to the maintenance of wives, children, and parents.
Laws applicable to Section 125
Section 125 of the code is consistent with various laws. These laws provide for better provisions for the maintenance of the mentioned individuals. The various acts applicable to it are:
- Divorce Act, 1869
- Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
- Family courts Act, 1984
- Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and 2006.
- Special Marriage Act, 1954, etc.
Many other laws are applicable to this provision and they primarily consist of personal laws of various castest and women welfare laws.
Amount of maintenance
The appeals under the act are heard by the magistrate (first class) only. While providing maintenance to the mentioned individuals various factors are taken into consideration primarily monetary factors. These include factors such as income, the standard of living, and different circumstances if any. There is no fixed amount of maintenance. It will be determined based on the livelihood of the individual.
Section 125 of the code provides the provision concerning the maintenance of women, children, and the elderly by the male member in the case of the wife and by the daughter or son in the case of parents. This section was introduced to provide solidarity to the personal law provision of maintenance of wives. This section has ensured to bring about social change and welfare for the individuals deprived of their livelihood. The section has witnessed various case laws and provisions being amended to cope with the changing times and scenarios. There are however two controversies or as you can say loopholes in this section.
Many a time the female members and elderly are not provided with basic maintenance even though provisions are in place by the male members by way of coercion. They are deprived of it in many rural areas still in India making the law inoperative there. There is persistent disregard for the law which has led to the presence of such cases not being given justice. The government will have to make strict provisions against such individuals and awareness at the individual level will be needed to be created by the citizens about the importance of this provision.
The second issue witnessed is the misuse of this provision. Many cases have been reported where the elderly or the wives have wrongfully claimed for maintenance which has led to injustice on part of the male members of the person liable to provide maintenance. People should understand that laws are made to provide justice. These laws should not be used to defraud and take advantage of people. People should understand their responsibility and duty and not misuse the laws created for their benefit. A country with appropriate laws for women, children, and the elderly along with their cooperation is considered a well-developed country.
- Ayush Verma, Analysing the scope of revision under Section 125 of CrPC, (2021), https://blog.ipleaders.in/analysis-scope-revision-section-125-crpc/
- Kiran Pawar, A Critical Analysis Of Provision Of Section 125(3) OF CrPC VIZ., Procedure Of Execution Of Order Of Interim Maintenance, (2020).
- Shivanshu Goswami, Analysis on order for maintenance of wives, children and parents under the Code of Criminal Procedure, (2020), https://thedailyguardian.com/analysis-on-order-for-maintenance-of-wives-children-and-parents-under-the-code-of-criminal-procedure/