Stating that S. 125 CrPC is a tool for social justice, the Delhi High Court has observed that in households where women are working and are able to sufficiently maintain themselves, it does not automatically absolve the husband of his responsibility to provide sustenance for his children.
Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad was hearing a criminal review plea filed by a father seeking revision of an interim maintenance order passed by the High Court under Section 125 of CrPC granting a monthly allowance of Rs. 15,000 to the mother for education of divorcing couple’s major son.
The husband had contended that the interim maintenance order was outside the scope of the High Court as the court could not have extended the maintenance for a period beyond the final adjudication of the case by the Trial Court.
However, stressing that the context of Section 125 CrPC is to ensure that the wife and the children of the husband are not left in a state of destitution after the divorce, the court said, “A father is bound to compensate the wife who, after spending on children, may hardly be left with anything to maintain herself.”
Further highlighting that this section was enacted to ensure that women and children are protected from a life of potential vagrancy and destitution, the court remarked,
"A father has an equal duty to provide for his children and there cannot be a situation wherein it is only the mother who has to bear the burden of expenses for raising and educating the children."
Dealing with the father’s objection to the interim allowance on the ground that grant of maintenance is maintainable so far as the concerned children have not attained majority, the court said, “simply attaining majority does not translate into the understanding that the major son is earning sufficiently.”
The court held that at the age of 18, it can be safely assumed that the son is either graduating from the 12th standard or is in his first year of college.
The court said that the challenge further places the entire burden on the mother to bear the expenses of educating the children without any contribution from the father, and this court cannot countenance such a situation.
Therefore, stating that the father cannot be absolved of all the responsibilities and is bound to compensate the wife who, after spending on children, may hardly be left with anything to maintain herself, the court dismissed the plea.
Case Title: Urvashi Aggarwal & Ors. v. Inderpaul Aggarwal
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