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S.125 CrPC- Father Not Absolved From Maintaining Children Merely Because Mother Is Also Earning: Delhi High Court

Nupur Thapliyal
9 Oct 2021 8:45 AM GMT
Delhi High Court, Attempt to murder, Offence Against Society, Proceedings cant be quashed, Justice Subramonium Prasad,
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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.

The observation was made in connection to revision of maintenance order passed by the High Court under Section 125 of CrPC.

Justice Subramonium Prasad observed that a mother cannot be burdened with the entire expenditure for raising and educating the children.

"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...A father is bound to compensate the wife who, after spending on children, may hardly be left with anything to maintain herself," the Court remarked.

The maintenance order was also challenged on the ground that the grant of maintenance is maintainable so far as the concerned children have not attained majority. However, in the present case the child had completed 18 years of age.

The Court however held,

"This Court cannot shut its eyes to the reality that simply attaining majority does not translate into the understanding that the major son is earning sufficiently. At the age of 18, it can be safely assumed that the son is either graduating from 12th standard or is in his first year of college. More often than not, it does not place him in a position wherein he can earn to sustain or maintain himself. It 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."

Reliance was placed on the case of Chandrashekhar v. Swapnil and Anr., where the Supreme Court had upheld the arrangement to provide maintenance to the son until he completed his first degree course after high school so as to ensure that he becomes a self-supporting individual and can live in dignity.

The Court was dealing with a criminal review plea with regards to an order passed by it in terms of which it was directed that an interim maintenance of Rs. 15,000 per month will be given to the wife (revisionist) till her son completes his graduation or starts earning, whichever is earlier.

It was the case of the respondent husband that the order was outside the scope of the High Court as it could not have extended it for a period beyond the final adjudication of the case by the Trial Court.

"The context of Section 125 Cr.P.C. is to ensure that the wife and the children of the husband are not left in a state of destitution after the divorce. The husband must also carry the financial burden of making certain that his children are capable of attaining a position in society wherein they can sufficiently maintain themselves," the Court said.

It further opined 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 mother cannot be burdened with the entire expenditure on the education of her son just because he has completed 18 years of age, and the father cannot be absolved of all responsibilities to meet the education expenses of his son because the son may have attained the age of majority, but may not be financially independent and could be incapable of sustaining himself," it added.

Accordingly, the plea was dismissed.

The Court had made similar observations recently wherein it had held that the obligation of a father to maintain his son under Section 125 of CrPC would not come to an end when the son attains the age of majority after reasoning that the entire burden of his education including other expenses would fall entirely upon the mother.

Case Title: URVASHI AGGARWAL & ORS. v. INDERPAUL AGGARWAL

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