17 March 2023 8:21 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has said that a stepmother, to claim maintenance amount from legal heirs of her deceased husband, has to prove before the family court by tendering evidence and submission of documents that her husband was having a lot of properties and they are having income and thus she is entitled for maintenance amount. A single judge bench of Justice K Natarajan partly allowed...
The Karnataka High Court has said that a stepmother, to claim maintenance amount from legal heirs of her deceased husband, has to prove before the family court by tendering evidence and submission of documents that her husband was having a lot of properties and they are having income and thus she is entitled for maintenance amount.
A single judge bench of Justice K Natarajan partly allowed a petition filed by Khaleel Ul-Rehman, setting aside and modifying the order passed by the family court granting Rs 25,000 per month maintenance to their step mother.
The court said “The order of granting maintenance of Rs.25,000, by the Family Court as interim maintenance is not sustainable and the matter is required for evidence to be recorded, documents to be marked by the petitioner/step mother in order to show her husband is having lot of properties and they are having income.”
The court modified the court saying “The petitioner’s stepmother is entitled for Rs.10,000 per month until disposal of the case of the trial court. The family court is directed to record the evidence of the parties and decide the issue and dispose of the matter in accordance with the law, by taking into the note of Senior Citizen Act and section 125 of Cr.P.C by keeping the judgment of the supreme court and the judgment of co-ordinate bench of this Court while disposing of the matter.”
The petitioners had approached the court questioning the order of the family court granting maintenance of Rs.25,000 per month to the respondent which is under challenge.
The stepmother had pleaded before the family court that she had married the father of the petitioners herein after the death of his first wife.
At the time of marriage, the father of the present petitioners had assured her that he is having landed properties apart from movable properties and that he will look after the respondent and she was living in the joint family of her husband. Her husband died on 30.08.1994 and his successors were the present petitioners, who are the children of Moheddin Muniri.
It was also said that she is a senior citizen, uneducated and unemployed housewife, she has no source of income, except Rs.4000, earning from a rent house at Bhatkal there is no other source of income or help to meet her necessities. She has a daughter who is also a divorcee having a granddaughter who is 3 years old. The respondent herein is paying monthly rent of Rs.12000 at R.T. Nagar, Bengalur and she is having aged related problems and health issues. Following which the impugned order was passed.
The petitioners submitted that Section 125 of Cr.P.C is not application to the respondent as she was a step mother of these petitioners which is not covered under section 125 of Cr.P.C for granting maintenance.
Secondly, the Special Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 and as per the Section 9(2) of the maintenance payable is maximum of Rs.10,000, therefore in order to avoid less payment the respondent has filed this petition by suppressing the main facts and also contended that the said Act came into force in the year 2007, therefore she has to approach the Deputy Commissioner for the relief.
On going through the records and referring to section 125 CrPC the bench said “On reading of the Section 125 (1) of Cr.P.C where the step mothers are not covered under the definition in order to seek any maintenance from the step children.”
Further it said, “Section 9 (1)(2), of the Senior Citizens Act, the maximum limit for granting maintenance was Rs.10,000 in the said Act. As per section 2 (d) of the definition in the said act, "parents means, father or mother whether biological, adoptive, or step father or step mother as the case may be whether or not the father or mother of the senior citizen."
Following which it observed “Therefore, the definition of step mother is not defined under section 125 of Cr.p.C whether and not included in the definition of mother whereas the Maintenance And Welfare Of Parents And Senior Citizen Act, 2007, covers the stepmother in the definition. Such being the case, the petitioner requires to approach the tribunal under the Special Act for claiming maintenance.”
Noting that coordinate bench of the High Court in the case of Ulleppa and Ors Vs Smt. Gangabai, 2003 (5) KarLJ 227, has taken a view, even the step mother can claim maintenance from the income of the property of her husband, when she is incapable of supporting herself, the bench held,
“Considering the circumstances of the case the order of granting maintenance of Rs.25,000 by the Family Court as interim maintenance is not sustainable and the matter is required for evidence to be recorded, documents to be marked by the petitioner/step mother in order to show her husband is having lot of properties and they are having income.”
It added “Though the respondent is receiving rent of Rs.4,000 but she is having divorced daughter and granddaughter, therefore, the petitioner requires to agitate the same before the Family Court and also she can claim maintenance in the Senior Citizen Act.”
It concluded by saying “Therefore the order under challenge is liable to be set aside and modified.”
Case Title: Khaleel Ul Rehman & Others And Sharaffunnisa Muniri @ Ashraf Unnisa
Case No: CRIMINAL PETITION NO.8508 OF 2022 CONNECTED WITH WRIT PETITION NO.14494 OF 2022
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 110
Date of Order: 02-03-2023
Appearance: Senior Advocate Sandesh J Chota a/w Advocate Ismail Muneeb Musba for petitioners.
HCGP Mohammad Niyaz S for respondent.
Click Here To Read/Download Order