[Breaking] Right to maintenance an absolute right under Section 125, Cr.PC

While considering the scope of maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a division bench comprising of Dipak Misra and P.C. Pant, JJ, of the Honourable Supreme Court held that, right to maintenance of a wife as guaranteed under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is an absolute right and the same is applicable to Muslim women as well.

While delivering the judgment court ruled that, as long as the husband is physically fit to support himself and earn his livelihood, husband is under a legal obligation to provide maintenance to his wife. Apex court further clarified that; right to maintenance under Section 125 of Cr.PC cannot be restricted to a Muslim (divorced) woman, as long as she did not remarry.

In this regard, court relied upon its earlier judgment Shabana Bano v. Imran Khan (([2010] 1 SCC 666)). Court further relying upon the same judgment held that, the amount of maintenance to be awarded under Section 125 Cr.PC cannot be restricted for the iddat period only.

Court emphasised the importance of Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, that, the purpose of above mentioned Section is that, even after the divorce, a women can live with dignity, in the same way as she would have lived in her matrimonial home.

However, the benefit of Section 125 will be available only till she remains unmarried after the divorce. Court further observed that, common pleas in almost all the cases under Section 125 like; he does not have the means to pay, for he does not have a job or his business is not doing well, are only bald excuses and they have no acceptability in the eye of law.

Read the complete judgment on Shamima Farooqui v. Shahid Khan, decided on April 6, 2015 (Supreme Court)

Girlfriend entitled for maintenance of Rs. 2500 per month

In an interesting case for maintenance, Nadapuram First Class Magistrate Court directed the accused to pay Rs. 2500/- per month to his girlfriend. Petitioner was a widow and was in a long term live-in relationship with the accused since 2004. Accused married another girl in the year 2013. As a result she was kept away from the house where both the accused and petitioner were staying till then.

Subsequently, the lady moved to the court seeking maintenance as well as compensation for the insult, harassment and mental agony faced by her from her boyfriend after he married to another women in the year 2013. However, the accused claimed that, there was no relationship between him and the petitioner, and the complaint itself is false and misleading, therefore, the petitioner is not entitled for any maintenance or compensation.

Court after considering the facts and circumstances of the case observed that, both the petitioner as well as the accused were living together since 2004 and they were leading a life as same as that of a husband and wife, and therefore the petitioner is entitled for maintenance. Hence, accepting the claims of the petitioner court ordered the accused to pay Rs. 2500/- per month the petitioner towards her maintenance. Court further directed the accused not to enter in the premises where the petitioner resides and he shall not abuse her in any means.