Court: KARNATAKA HIGH COURT
Bench: JUSTICE S.B. Majage
SUBHASCHANDRA Vs. INDUBAI & ANR. On 3 February 2004
Daughter-in-law as well as Grandson cannot claim maintenance from
from father in Law and Grandfather under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
1. The petitioner, who was respondent in Cri. Misc. No. 12 of 2002 on the file of the Family Court at Gulbarga, has questioned the impugned order dated 19.11.2002 passed by the said Court by which he has been directed to pay monthly maintenance at the rate of Rs. 400/- to the 1st respondent and at the rate of Rs. 300/- to the 2nd respondent from the date of filing petition by them in Cri. Misc. No. 12 of 2002 under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. till partition suit in O.S. No. 237 of 1998 is adjudicated and their legitimate share is given.
2. Facts in brief, which gave rise to the present matter before this Court, are: The respondents herein, who were petitioners before the Family Court, filed a petition under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. claiming maintenance at the rate of Rs. 1,000/- p.m. from the present petitioner stating that they are the wife and son of deceased Revansiddappa, who was the son of the petitioner and unable to maintain themselves and the petitioner, in spite of having sufficient means with landed properties of the family in his possession, had refused to maintain them. It was contested by the petitioner on various grounds. However, after inquiry, the Family Court passed the impugned order awarding maintenance to the present respondent, as noted already. It is against this order, the petitioner is before this Court.
3. Heard the learned Counsels for the parties. It is vehemently argued for the petitioner that the Family Court was not right in exercising its power or jurisdiction under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. as, under the said provision of law, father-in-law cannot be directed to pay maintenance to a daughter-in-law and hence, the impugned order requires to be set aside on the said ground itself without going into the merits.
4. On the other hand, it is submitted for the respondents that since the provision contained in Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. is a beneficial provision provided for persons who are unable to maintain themselves and more so, for persons like the present respondents, a liberal interpretation requires to be made and if done so, the order of Family Court does not require to be interfered with when it is justifiable and proper on facts. Perused the records carefully.
5. So the point for consideration is:
“Whether a daughter-in-law can claim maintenance from father-in-law and so also, a grandson can claim maintenance from grandfather under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C.?”
6. For the said point, no discussion in detail is necessary. This is because Chapter IX of the Cr.P.C., in which Section 125 appears, relates to the claim for maintenance of wife, children and parents. Not only that, Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. also deals with an order for maintenance of wife, children and parents. It is under:
“Section 125(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 minor 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, not exceeding five hundred rupees in the whole, 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”.
7. A bare reading of the said provision makes it clear that if any person having sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain wife, legitimate or illegitimate child, father or mother, who is unable to maintain himself or herself, the Court can order for maintenance to be paid by such person to wife, child, father or mother.
8. Of course, in the case of Smt. S.K. Chandrika v. Smt. Byamma and Others, I (2000) DMC 185=1999 (5) Kar.LJ 183, this Court had an occasion to interpret the word “person” and held that the word “person” includes male or female—and so also, the word “he” can be read as “she” and the word “his” can be reads as “her”.
So also in the case of Dr. Mrs. Vijaya Manohar Arbat v. Kashirao Rajaram Sawai and Another, AIR 1987 SC 1100, the Supreme Court has held that the word “his” appearing in Clause (d) of said section includes both male and female.
9. So, even when the said interpretations made are kept in mind and considered the said provision of law, it cannot be said that a daughter-in-law or grandson is covered by the said provision so as to say that the present respondents could be awarded maintenance from the petitioner under Section 125 of the Cr. P.C. To interpret that the word “daughter” includes “daughter-in-law” or the word “child” includes “grand children” (son includes grandson) or the word “father” includes “grandfather” or “father-in-law” will be doing harm to the said words, more so, when persons for whom the said provision is provided is kept in mind. No authority or law has been brought to my notice so as to interpret and hold that Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. covers the case of daughter-in-law against father-in-law or the case of a grandson against grandfather. This can be said even on a plain reading of the said provision contained in Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. It need not be said that nothing can be added or deleted while interpreting a statute.
10. It is true that Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. is brought in the Statute book so as to provide relief to the persons, who are unable to maintain themselves and neglected or refused maintenance by person having sufficient means. But, it cannot be stretched to hold that persons other than the persons mentioned are also covered by the said provision of law to provide maintenance from persons, not liable to provide maintenance under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. In the above view, I have no hesitation to hold that the respondents herein could not have maintained any claim against the petitioner herein i.e., as daughter-in-law and grandson could not have maintained their claim of maintenance from father-in-law and grandfather respectively, under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. though, of course, they have right to claim maintenance from such person also under Hindu Law and not under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. So, the point raised is answered in favour of the petitioner and against respondents herein.
In the result, the petition is allowed and the impugned order dated 19.11.2002 is set aside. However, it is made clear that any observation made during the course of this order does not come in the way of claiming any maintenance by the respondent herein from the petitioner under Hindu Law, if they are entitled. In the circumstances, parties are directed to bear their respective costs.