Uttarakhand High Court recently noted that a minor child can claim maintenance from a mother also under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure when the mother has sufficient means of livelihood.
The bench emphasized that the term “person” under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) deals with the award of maintenance and would include both male and female persons.
“According to the language of the present Section 125 CrPC, in the opinion of this Court “person” would include both male and female and in reference to a minor child whether legitimate or illegitimate, mother or father having sufficient means if neglects and refuses to maintain such minor child would be held liable to pay the maintenance of such child,” the High Court stated.
The High Court bench stated that Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that the liability to maintain a minor child always lies with any person if he/she has sufficient means.
“The ‘person’ word denotes not only the male but a female gender and it cannot be said that such person can only qualify father and not the mother,” the bench added.
Justice Pankaj Purohit stated that there has been a change in the educational and economic status of women.
The Court additionally examined Section 8 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which provides a definition for ‘gender,’ and concluded that this definition suggests that the terms ‘he’ and its variations are employed in reference to any individual, regardless of whether they are male or female.
Noting that Section 125(1) of the CrPC clearly infers that “person” includes both male and female, the bench said, “Under Section 11 of the IPC, the “person” has also been defined, which includes any company or Association or body of persons, whether incorporated or not.”
The bench upheld a family court’s order directing the mother, who is a government teacher by profession, to pay a monthly maintenance of Rs 2000 to her son. At present, the son lives with his father.
Their marriage was dissolved in 2016. The Family Court was told that the financial condition of the father has deteriorated and has no means to provide quality education, upbringing or food to his minor son.
The mother challenged the Family Court order and her counsel contended that it is the duty of the father to maintain the children and not the mother.
The counsel referred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruling in Raj Kumari vs. Yashoda Devi and another wherein it was noted, “Under Section 125 of the Code, the father or a husband or a son. as the case may be, is the only person that can be proceeded against.” He also mentioned the Mst. Dhulki vs. State judgment.
However, the bench rejected the contention stating that the judgments were passed in the years 1959 and 1977, a time when the majority of the women were uneducated and unemployed. Since then, there has been a sea of change in the status of women, Justice Purohit said.
“The revisionist herself is a Government Teacher, who at present, would be getting a minimum ₹1,00,000 as salary and as such, there is no illegality and impropriety in the impugned judgment and order dated 30.03.2013 passed by learned Judge, Family Court,” the bench said.