Scope Of Section 125 Cr.P.C. Maintenance For Wife And Children

Section 125 Cr.P.C.

Section 125 Cr.P.C. is a piece of social legislation which provides for a summary and speedy relief by way of maintenance to a wife who is unable to maintain herself and her children. Section 125 is not intended to provide for a full and final determination of the status and personal rights of parties, which is in the nature of a civil proceeding, though are governed by the provisions of the Cr.P.C. and the order made under Section 125 Cr.P.C. is tentative and is subject to final determination of the rights in a civil court.

11. In a decision, in the case of Pyla Mutyalamma @ Satyavathi v. Pyla Suri Demudu as reported in 2011 (12) SCC 189 the Hon’ble Apex Court had identified the scope of revisional power to be exercised with regard to the cases relating to Section 125 Cr.P.C. and has held under para-14, 15, 16 which are as follows:-

Power of Court to increase or decrease maintenance

14. In fact, we also find sufficient substance in the plea that the High Court in its revisional jurisdiction ought not to have entered into a scrutiny of the finding recorded by the Magistrate that the appellant was a married wife of the respondent, before allowing an application determining maintenance as it is well-settled that the revisional court can interfere only if there is any illegality in the order or there is any material irregularity in the procedure or there is an error of jurisdiction.

15. The High Court under its revisional jurisdiction is not required to enter into re- appreciation of evidence recorded in the order granting maintenance; at the most it could correct a patent error of jurisdiction. It has been laid down in a series of decisions including Suresh Mandal vs. State of Jharkhand ((2006) 1 AIR Jhar R 153) that in a case where the learned Magistrate has granted maintenance holding that the wife had been neglected and the wife was entitled to maintenance, the scope of interference by the revisional court is very limited. The revisional court would not substitute its own finding and upset the maintenance order recorded by the Magistrate.

Quantum of maintenance is a finding of fact which cannot be revised

16. In revision against the maintenance order passed in proceedings under Section 125, Cr.P.C., the revisional court has no power to re-assess evidence and substitute its own findings. Under revisional jurisdiction, the questions whether the applicant is a married wife, the children are legitimate/illegitimate, being pre-eminently questions of fact, cannot be reopened and the revisional court cannot substitute its own views. The High Court, therefore, is not required in revision to interfere with the positive finding in favour of the marriage and patronage of a child. But where finding is a negative one, the High Court would entertain the revision, re-evaluate the evidence and come to a conclusion whether the findings or conclusions reached by the Magistrate are legally sustainable or not as negative finding has evil consequences on the life of both child and the woman. This was the view expressed by the Supreme Court in the matter of Santosh vs. Naresh Pal ((1998) 8 SCC 447) , as also in the case of Parvati Rani Sahoo vs. Bishnu Sahoo ((2002)10 SCC 510). Thus, the ratio decidendi which emerges out of a catena of authorities on the efficacy and value of the order passed by the Magistrate while determining maintenance under Section 125, Cr.P.C. is that it should not be disturbed while exercising revisional jurisdiction

What Is Stridhan? Is the Wife Entitled To Maintenance?

Stridhan and maintenance.

The word “Stridhan” includes gifts made to the wife at the time of marriage by her parents, brother, inlaws, husband etc. She is absolute owner of her Stridhan property and she can deal with it in any manner she likes. In the event of divorce or desertion, she is entitled for her Stridhan and her claim in respect thereof, if proved, must be allowed and necessary directions to return the same must be issued by the courts. In the present case, there is no dispute that the certain ornaments were gifted to the appellant by her parents in the marriage, as stated by her in her written statement and in her evidence. The husband has also deposed that some ornaments were gifted by him at the time of marriage to the wife. The wife in her written statement and in her evidence, however, has made reference only to the ornaments/gifts made by her parents as Stridhan. There are six articles, mentioned in paragraph 11(O) of the written statement and in paragraph 23 of her deposition, as Stridhan. She has not claimed ornaments/gifts made by the husband in the marriage as Stridhan.

Evidence of ownership in case of stridhan.

What precautions can a woman take to protect her stridhan and what sort of legal registration can be done? A: Stridhan as per Hindu Law is whatever a woman receives during her lifetime. In some instances, it is even things received prior to marriage, during marriage, child birth and even during her widowhood. Otherwise, in general, it is perceived as whatever is received by her at the time of marriage and later on. There is no legal procedure to register this.

To protect their stridhan, women can make a list, have witnesses but court may not necessarily take cognizance to that. So as a precaution towards evidence that she has received, make a list of all the things and let there be two witnesses. But it is not necessary that court will always accept. There is no full proof solution to this. It just has to be word of mouth and leave it at that.

Upper limit on stridhan. Are all gifts during lifetime of a woman to be considered or can be interpreted as stridhan?

There is no upper cap to stridhan. It can be whatever amount. It includes all movable/immovable property, gifts, everything received by her from her parents, from her in-laws, relatives and in some instances, even strangers. There is no way you can protect it. There is no recourse to that.

Stridhan as a tax planning instrument:

The income that comes from stridhan will get added to the woman’s overall income. The gift will get added to her assets and there is no tax on assets. The tax planning, in terms of income tax, there isn’t much benefit If there is any income from the assets, which she has received by way of Stridhan, for example if there is a real estate and that’s leased out and there is a rental income – that rent will get added to her overall income and she will have to pay tax. So there is no tax advantage.