HIGH COURT OF DELHI HOLDS MAINTENANCE UNDER SECTION 125 CRPC IS FOR THE WELFARE OF NEGLECTED WIVES, CHILDREN AND PARENTS

Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri of the High Court of Delhi, while dealing with the Petition that challenged the Order passed by the Family Court which rejected the maintenance Petition filed by the Petitioner under Section 125 Criminal Procedure Code 1973. The High Court held that, in absence of documentary evidence on record showing that the wife has been earning she is entitled to be maintained by the husband.

In the case of Anita vs Amit, (Crl. Rev. P. 515/2018), which was before the Delhi High Court, the Petitioner in this matter stated that the 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-husband and the maintenance sought by the Petitioner. On the contrary, the Respondent submitted that the 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.

However, the Court relying upon the decision rendered in the case of Shalija v. Khobbana (2018) where the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that ‘capable of earning’ is not a sufficient reason to deny a wife her maintenance. Merely because the wife is capable of earning is not sufficient reason to deny the maintenance under Section 125 CrPC.

In the present case the Bench noted that the Petitioner had specifically averred that she had no source of income and was totally dependent on her father. It further noted that the Respondent-husband being employed had sufficient means to maintain her. Thus the 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.

The Court further stated that it is settled by judicial precedents that the provisions of Section 125 of CrPC are for the welfare of the neglected wives, children and parents and that provisions should be construed liberally. Therefore, in view of the above, the Delhi High Court held that impugned order of the Family Court was to be set aside and remanded the matter to the Family Court for fresh consideration.

Lakshmi Vishwakarma

Associate

The Indian Lawyer

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