Landmark judgment from Apex Court here around the Sec 125 CrPC and few more details.
From Para 16,
Bare reading of sub-section (1) of Section 125 leaves no room for doubt that if any person having sufficient means, neglects or refuses to maintain his wife who is unable to maintain herself or his legitimate (or illegitimate) child (children) unable to maintain itself (themselves), or his father, or mother, unable to maintain himself or herself, a Court, upon proof of negligence or refusal, order such person to pay maintenance to his wife or child (children) or parents, as the case may be. It is also clear that maximum amount which could be ordered to be paid was Rs.500/- p.m. which was clear from the expression “not exceeding Rs.500/- in the whole”.
From Para 18,
By the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2001 (Act 50 of 2001), subsections (1) and (2) came to be amended with effect from September 24, 2001. The amended sub-sections now read thus:
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:
How the interim maintenance’ came to be about?
So far as ‘interim’ maintenance is concerned, it is true that Section 125 of the Code as it originally enacted did not expressly empower the Magistrate to make such order and direct payment of interim maintenance. But the Code equally did not prohibit the Magistrate from making such order. Now, having regard to the nature of proceedings, the primary object to secure relief to deserted and destitute wives, discarded and neglected children and disabled and helpless parents and to ensure that no wife, child or parent is left beggared and destitute on the scrap-heap of society so as to be tempted to commit crime or to tempt others to commit crime in regard to them, it was held that the Magistrate had ‘implied power’ to make such order. The jurisdiction of the Magistrate under Chapter IX (Order for Maintenance of Wives, Children and Parents) is not strictly criminal in nature. Moreover, the remedy provided by Section 125 of the Code is a summary remedy for securing reasonable sum by way of maintenance subject to a decree passed by a competent civil Court. Hence, in absence of any express bar or prohibition, Section 125 could be interpreted as conferring power by necessary implication to make interim order of maintenance subject to final outcome in the application.
Shail Kumari Devi & Anr Vs Krishan Bhagwan Pathak on 28 July, 2008
Again, maintenance is a right which accrues to a wife against her husband the minute the former gets married to the latter. It is not only a moral obligation but is also a legal duty cast upon the husband to maintain his wife. Hence, whenever a wife does not stay with her husband and claims maintenance, the only question which the Court is called upon to consider is whether she was justified to live separately from her husband and still claim maintenance from him? If the reply is in the affirmative, she is entitled to claim maintenance.