BRIEF UPDATE: SUPREME COURT REITERATES SIGNIFICANT PRINCIPLES OF MAINTENANCE

The 3 Judge Bench of the #SupremeCourt has in a recent case of Abhilasha vs Parkash and Others passed a Judgment dated 15-09-2020 and reiterated the following principles of #maintenance of #wife, #children and #parents under Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 (the Act) and the Criminal Procedure Code 1973 (#CrPC):

1- That Section 125 CrPC provides that a person is liable to maintain the following people who are unable to maintain themselves:

i) His wife,

ii) Minor child,

iii) Child who has attained majority, excluding a married daughter, having physical or mental abnormality or injury, and

iv) Father and mother.

2- That the 1956 Act provides that a #Hindu Man/Woman is liable to maintain the following people:

(i) A Hindu wife shall be maintained by her husband during her lifetime except in cases where she is unchaste or ceases to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion.

(ii) A Hindu wife shall be maintained by her father-in-law, after the death of her husband, if she is unable to maintain herself.

(iii) A Hindu is responsible, during his or her lifetime, to maintain his/her minor child, unmarried daughter, aged or infirm parents including a childless stepmother, all of who are incapable of maintaining and supporting themselves.

3- That in view of the provisions of maintenance under CrPC and the 1956 Act, the Supreme Court observed that the scope of maintenance under the 1956 Act is larger than that contemplated under Section 125 of CrPC. Under Section 125 CrPC, generally, summary proceedings are initiated for immediate relief and under the 1956 Act, proceedings are initiated for larger claims.

4- Therefore, the Supreme Court observed that the Appellant in this case is an unmarried Hindu daughter who is unable to maintain herself. But there is no physical or mental abnormality or injury, as required under Section 125 CrPC. So, she may take recourse under Section 20 (3) of the 1956 Act to claim maintenance from her father till the time she is married.

To read more on this Judgment, please find the Judgment dated 15-09-2020 attached below:

Harini Daliparthy

Senior Legal Associate

The Indian Lawyer

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