Wife Can File For Maintenance U/S 125 CrPC Even After Receiving Alimony If Unable To Maintain Herself Or Children: P&H HC
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed that a wife can file a plea for maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC, notwithstanding the fact that she already received a lump sum payment by way of alimony from her husband.
The case involved a couple who got married in 1983. After a matrimonial dispute between the two, they started living separately in 1993. By way of a written compromise made in 1993, the husband deposited Rs.3 lac in favour of his wife and two children as full and final alimony settlement regarding their past, present and future claims of maintenance.
In 2007, however, the wife filed a plea under Section 125 for maintenance, which was eventually ruled in her favour in 2016 by the Additional Sessions Judge, Pathankot, by which ruling the wife was granted maintenance at the rate of Rs.15,000 per month.
Aggrieved by this, the husband filed the present petition under Section 482 CrPC. for quashing of the judgment of the Additional Sessions Judge, Pathankot.
The petitioner-husband argued that the wife’s plea under Section 125 could not be allowed. It was a misuse of the process of law; since the matter was already settled between the parties, by way of a written compromise which was complied with by the petitioner.
The respondent wife, on the other hand, submitted that she was only earning Rs. 17,000 until her retirement in 2018, and that it was not possible for her to provide for expenses including accommodation, electricity, water and conveyance, additionally, since she was burdened with the expenses of her two children – both being college students.
The single bench of Justice Amarjot Bhatti, while holding that the plea under Section 125 was maintainable, despite the settlement in 1993, said that:
“It cannot be disputed that it was not possible for a lady and her two children to survive in a meagre amount of Rs. 3 lacs … it is not possible to survive in a meagre salary of Rs.17,000 and to bear the responsibility of her two children who were going in professional colleges. She was to look-after their daily expenditure, food, clothing, transportation, medical expenditure as and when required and other social obligations. Therefore, she was justified in filing the petition under Section 125 CrPC.”
Accordingly, Justice Bhatti found no justification for interfering with the order of the Additional Sessions Judge, Pathankot, providing for maintenance amount of Rs. 15,000 per month to the wife.
Case Title: Sunil Sachdeva v. Rashmi and Another
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (PH) 7
Case No: CRM-M-5732 of 2017 (O&M)
Coram: Justice Amarjot Bhatti