Grant of Maintenance to Wife – A measure of Social Justice

In Chaturbhuj v. Sita Bai, 2007 (Suppl.) ACC 537, it was held as under:

“Section 125 Cr.P.C. is a measure of social justice and is specially enacted to protect women and children and as held in Ramesh Chander Kaushal v. Veena Kaushal, (1978) 4 SCC 70, falls within Constitutional sweep of Article 15(3) reinforced by Article 39 of the Constitution of India. It is meant to achieve a social purpose. The object is to prevent vagrancy and destitution. It provides a speedy remedy for the supply of food, clothing and shelter to the deserted wife. It gives effect to fundamental rights and natural duties of a man to maintain his wife, children and parents when they are unable to maintain themselves. The aforesaid position was highlighted in Savitaben Somabhai Bhatiya v. State of Gujarat, 2005 (51) ACC 923.

A division bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case of Durga Singh Lodhi v. Prembai and Others, 1990 Cr. L.J. 2065, has held that mere absence of visible means or real estate will not entitle such a person to escape the liability to pay maintenance awarded under section 125(1) as even at the stage of enforcement of the order under Section 125(1), an able bodied healthy person capable of earning, must be subjected to pay maintenance allowance. If, with this visible capacity to earn, he avoids payments, it has to be held that he has so done for no sufficient cause. If such a person avoids to discharge that obligations despite issuance of a distress warrant, he can be sentenced to imprisonment for a term specified in sub – section (3) of Section 125 Cr.PC.

In Shamima Farooqui v. Shahid Khan, (2015) 5 SCC 705, it was held thus:

“A woman, who is constrained to leave the marital home, should not be allowed to feel that she has fallen from grace and move hither and thither arranging for sustenance. As per law, she is entitled to lead a life in the similar manner as she would have lived in the house of her husband. And that is where the status and strata of the husband comes into play and that is where the legal obligation of the husband becomes a prominent one. As long as the wife is held entitled to grant of maintenance within the parameters of Section 125, Cr.P.C., it has to be adequate so that she can live with dignity as she would have lived in her matrimonial home. She cannot be compelled to become a destitute or beggar.”  Smt. Surbhi Agarwal v. State of U.P., 2017 (98) ACC 471.