Abhilasha v. Prakash
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 615 of 2020 (arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.8260/2018)
Decided on 15.09.2020.
Bench: Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy, M.R. Shah JJ
Mother of the appellant, as well as on behalf of her two sons and the appellant daughter, filed an application under Section 125 Cr.P.C. against her husband claiming maintenance for herself and her three children. The learned Judicial Magistrate dismissed the application under Section 125 Cr.P.C. of the applicant(mother and 2 sons) but allowed the same for applicant (daughter) for grant of maintenance till she attains majority. Aggrieved against the judgment all the four applicants filed a criminal revision before the Court of Sessions, which was dismissed.
Against the same, an application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. was filed before the High Court by all the applicants, which was dismissed. Hence, this appeal.
Whether the appellant, who although had attained majority and is still unmarried is entitled to claim maintenance from her father in proceedings under Section 125 Cr.P.C. although she is not suffering from any physical or mental abnormality/injury?
The Supreme Court dismissing the present appeal said that the appellant has liberty to approach lower court under S. 20 of the Act,1956 for grant of maintenance. The Court held that it did not find any infirmity in the order of lower court in not granting maintenance to appellant who had become major because in a Lower Court which has power to deal with sole proceeding under S.125 CrPC, cannot order maintenance under S. 20 of the Act,1956.
Furthermore, the Court said that the appellant who is major Hindu daughter cannot claim maintenance from her father under S. 125 CrPC. She can claim maintenance relying on Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, till she gets married provided she pleads and proves that she is unable to maintain herself.
[See Section 20 of Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 cast a statutory obligation on a Hindu to maintain his daughter who is unmarried and unable to maintain herself out of her own earnings or other property.
See S. 125 CrPC 125. Order for maintenance of wives, children and parents.
(1) If any person having sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain-
(b) his legitimate or illegitimate minor child, whether married or not, unable to maintain itself,
(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 ]
Purpose of S. 125 CrPC and S.20 of Act,1956
The purpose and object of Section 125 Cr.P.C. is to provide immediate relief in a summary proceedings, whereas right under Section 20 read with Section 3(b) of Act, 1956 contains larger right, which needs determination by a Civil Court, hence for the larger claims as enshrined under Section 20, the proceedings need to be initiated under Section 20 of the Act and the legislature never contemplated to burden the Magistrate while exercising jurisdiction under Section 125 Cr.P.C. to determine the claims contemplated by Act, 1956.
View of Supreme Court regarding Family Court Act,1984
The Court said that after enactment of Family Courts Act, 1984, a Family Court shall also have the jurisdiction exercisable by a Magistrate of the First Class under Chapter IX of Cr.P.C. relating to order for maintenance of wife, children and parents. Family Courts shall have the jurisdiction only with respect to city or town whose population exceeds one million, where there is no Family Courts, proceedings under Section 125 Cr.P.C. shall have to be before the Magistrate of the First Class. In an area where the Family Court is not established, a suit or proceedings for maintenance including the proceedings under Section 20 of the Act, 1956 shall only be before the District Court or any subordinate Civil Court. 33. There may be a case where the Family Court has jurisdiction to decide a case under Section 125 Cr.P.C. as well as the suit under Section 20 of Act, 1956, in such eventuality, Family Court can exercise jurisdiction under both the Acts and in an appropriate case can grant maintenance to unmarried daughter even though she has become major enforcing her right under Section 20 of Act, 1956