Maintenance, Maintenance means the provision of financial support for a person's living expenses or the support so provided. Maintenance proceedings is not to punish a person for his past neglect but to prevent vagrancy leading to the commission of crime and starvation by compelling those who can do so to support those who are unable to support themselves and who have moral claim to support. Section 125 of The Criminal Procedure Code provides this type of provision. The provisions of maintenance of the code of criminal procedure are applicable to persons belonging to all religions and have no relationship with the personal laws of the parties. It is applicable to all.
Order for maintenance of wives, children, and parents -
According to Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (1) If any person having sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain -
(a) his wife, unable to maintain herself, or
(b) his legitimate or illegitimate minor child, whether married or not, unable to maintain itself, or
(c) his legitimate or illegitimate child (not being a married daughter) who has attained majority, where such child is, by reason of any physical or mental abnormality or injury unable to maintain itself, or
(d) his father or mother, unable to maintain himself or herself, a Magistrate of the first class may, upon proof of such neglect or refusal, order such person to make a monthly allowance for the maintenance of his wife or such child, father or mother, at such monthly rate as such Magistrate thinks fit, and to pay the same to such person as the Magistrate may from time to time direct :
Provided that the Magistrate may order the father of a minor female child referred to in clause (b) to make such allowance until she attains her majority if the Magistrate is satisfied that the husband of such minor female child if married, is not possessed of sufficient means :
Provided further that the Magistrate may, during the pendency of the proceeding regarding monthly allowance for the maintenance under this sub-section, order such person to make a monthly allowance for the interim maintenance of his wife or such child, father or mother, and the expenses of such proceeding which the Magistrate considers reasonable, and to pay the same to such person as the Magistrate may from time to time direct :
Provided also that an application for the monthly allowance for the interim maintenance and expenses of proceeding under the second proviso shall, as far as possible, be disposed of within sixty days from the date of the service of notice of the application to such person.
Explanation: For the purposes of this Chapter -
(a) "minor" means a person who, under the provisions of the Indian Majority Act, 1875 (9 of 1875) is deemed not to have attained his majority;
(b) "wife" includes a woman who has been divorced by, or has obtained a divorce from, her husband and has not remarried.
(2) Any such allowance for the maintenance or interim maintenance and expenses of proceeding shall be payable from the date of the order, or, if so ordered, from the date of the application for maintenance or interim maintenance and expenses of proceeding, as the case may be.
(3) If any person so ordered fails without sufficient cause to comply with the order, any such Magistrate may, for every breach of the order, issue a warrant for levying the amount due in the manner provided for levying fines, and may sentence such person, for the whole or any part of each month's allowance for the maintenance or the interim maintenance and expenses of proceeding, as the case may be, remaining unpaid after the execution of the warrant, to imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or until payment if sooner made :
Provided that no warrant shall be issued for the recovery of any amount due under this section unless application be made to the Court to levy such amount within a period of one year from the date on which it became due :
Provided further that if such person offers to maintain his wife on condition of her living with him, and she refuses to live with him, such Magistrate may consider any grounds of refusal stated by her, and may make an order under this section notwithstanding such offer, if he is satisfied that there is just ground for so doing.
Explanation: If a husband has contracted marriage with another woman or keeps a mistress, it shall be considered to be just ground for his wife's refusal to live with him.
(4) No wife shall be entitled to receive an allowance for the maintenance or the interim maintenance and expenses of proceeding, as the case may be, from her husband under this section if she is living in adultery, or if, without any sufficient reason, she refuses to live with her husband, or if they are living separately by mutual consent.
(5) On proof that any wife in whose favor an order has been made under this section is living in adultery, or that without sufficient reason she refuses to live with her husband, or that they are living separately by mutual consent, the Magistrate shall cancel the order.
Procedure (Section 126 of the Code of Criminal Procedure) -
(1) Proceedings under section 125 may be taken against any person in any district-
(a) where he is, or
(b) where he or his wife resides, or
(c) where he last resided with his wife, or as the case may be, with the mother of the illegitimate child.
(2) All evidence to such proceedings shall be taken in the presence of the person against whom an order for payment of maintenance is proposed to be made, or, when his personal attendance is dispensed with, in the presence of his pleader, and shall be recorded in the manner prescribed for summons-cases:
Provided that if the Magistrate is satisfied that the person against whom an order for payment of maintenance is proposed to be made is willfully avoiding service, or willfully neglecting to attend the court, the Magistrate may proceed to hear and determine the case ex-parte and any order so made may be set aside for good cause shown on an application made within three months from the date thereof subject to such terms including terms as to payment of costs to the opposite party as the Magistrate may think just and proper.
(3) The Court in dealing with applications under section 125 shall have power to make such order as to costs as may be just.
Alteration in allowance -
As per Section 127 of the Criminal Procedure Code, (1) On proof of a change in the circumstances of any person, receiving, under section 125 a monthly allowance for the maintenance or interim maintenance, or ordered under the same section to pay a monthly allowance for the maintenance, or interim maintenance, to his wife, child, father or mother, as the case may be, the Magistrate may make such alteration, as he thinks fit, in the allowance for the maintenance or the interim maintenance, as the case may be.
(2) Where it appears to the Magistrate that, in consequence of any decision of a competent civil court, any order made under section 125 should be cancelled or varied, he shall cancel the order or, as the case may be, vary the same accordingly.
(3) Where any order has been made under section 125 in favour of a woman who has been divorced by or has obtained a divorce from, her husband, the Magistrate shall, if he is satisfied that-
(a) the woman has, after the date of such divorce, remarried; cancel such order as from the date of her remarriage;
(b) the woman has been divorced by her husband and that she has received, whether before or after the date of the said order, the whole of the sum which, under any customary or personal law applicable to the parties, was payable on such divorce, cancel such order-
(i) In the case where such sum was paid before such order, from the date on which such order was made,
(ii) In any other case, from the date of expiry of the period, if any, for which maintenance has been actually paid by the husband to the woman;
(c) the woman has obtained a divorce from her husband and that she had voluntarily surrendered her rights to maintenance or interim maintenance, as the case may be after her divorce, cancel the order from the date thereof.
(4) At the time of making any decree for the recovery of any maintenance or dowry by any person, to whom monthly allowance for the maintenance and interim maintenance or any of them has been ordered to be paid under section 125, the civil court shall take into account the sum which has been paid to, or recovered by, such person as monthly allowance for the maintenance and interim maintenance or any of them, as the case may be, in pursuance of the said order.
Why Law protects Possession?
Courts of Judicial Magistrates (CrPC)
Classification of offence (Criminal Procedure Code 1973)