I firmly believe that CrPC 125 should be struck down or repealed from Statute Book. I present my points, briefly, to conclude CrPC 125 is a vestige from the past and it should go out.
There are a set of 4 sections in Criminal Procedure Code of India (hereinafter, CrPC) that mandate that ‘wives, children and parents should be maintained’. I list the said sections from CrPC below.
- CrPC 125 – Order for Maintenance of Wives, Children and Parents
- CrPC 126 – Procedure for CrPC 125 Case
- CrPC 127 – Alteration in Allowance
- CrPC 128 – Enforcement of Order of Maintenance
The key emphasis I want to bring to the fore from these 4 sections, being that the ‘beneficiary’ of these sections are to be ‘unable to maintain themselves‘. Now the common sense (which is uncommon to find these days with people) questions ‘why would a lawfully wedded wife or legally caring and loving parents or the twinkle-in-my-eyes children who are residing in a shelter and have something to eat and wear, suddenly become “unable to maintain themselves”??? WHY??? Because the man “having sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain”. Cool.
Point Of Contention
What does that mean from the eyes of law, he has caused domestic violence to the said beneficiaries, as defined in the DV Act (where the lovely ladies and their kiddos are the beneficiaries).
It means he has neglected to care for his elderly parents, as defined in Senior Citizens Act where the beneficiaries are parents of age less than 60 and senior citizens)
It is hopelessly assumed by the law, that women cannot cause this very same act of negligence towards her husband, her parents and her kids. Not sure where is the basis for this twisted mindset coming from, when they can strike down
SC Strikes Down 157 Year Old Law Criminalizing Consensual Homo-Sexual Acts Between Adults; Holds Section 377 IPC Unconstitutional To That Extent (Read report here).
Husband Is Not The Master Of Wife, SC Strikes Down 158 Year Old Adultery Law Under Section 497 IPC (Read Report here)
- Entry of Women of menstruating age into Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala (What Applies To Man Applies To Woman As Well, Says CJI Dipak Misra here)
- Right To Choose Life Partner Is A Fundamental Right, Consent Of Family, Community, Clan Not Necessary For Marriage Between Two Adults (Read report here)
Now, hitting the ball out of park, I state,
- We have Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act here and rules thereof here, to cater to the needs of neglected women and kids.
- We have Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act here and a report from standing committee here which was basis for this Act to cater to the needs of elderly parents.
When we have two Special Laws to cater to the well being and care of wifes, kids and parents how can a provision of central act which by the way is a General law sustain? It is settled principle of law, that Special Laws always supersede General Law.
I have not even gone into applicability of Article 15(3) of Constitution of India, in case on 125 CrPC and the blabber of beneficial act yada, yada, yada. Not touched the equal treated and subjection to laws to be given across genders with equity.
How can two civil remedies be provided for same single offence? Is this not double-jeopardy?
Is it not correct to repeal CrPC Section 125, 126, 127 and 128 on this basis?
A more detailed comparative analysis made available here. Do share your views.