Man must earn even by physical labour to administer maintenance to wife, kids: Supreme Court

Share on:

The Supreme Court has said a husband is required to earn money “even by physical labour” to fulfill his sacrosanct duty to supply funding to the estranged wife, minor children and couldn’t avoid his obligation.

A bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Bela M Trivedi said provision for maintenance under CrPC Sec 125 may be a measure of social justice that was specially enacted to shield women and kids and refused to simply accept plea of a husband who submitted he had no source of income as his party business has now been closed. 

“The respondent (husband) being an able bodied, he's obliged to earn by legitimate means and maintain his wife and therefore the minor child. Having relation to the evidence of the appellant-wife before the court, and having relevancy the opposite evidence on record, the court has no hesitation in holding that though the respondent had sufficient source of income and was able-bodied, had failed and neglected to take care of the appellant,” it said.

The Supreme Court directed a person to pay maintenance of Rs 10,000 per month to his wife and Rs 6,000 to his minor son. 

The bench said the Section 125 of CrPC was conceived to ameliorate the agony, anguish and financial suffering of a girl who is required to go away the matrimonial home, so some suitable arrangements may be made to enable her to sustain herself and also the children. It pulled up a court of domestic relations to deny maintenance to the lady and her children after she left the matrimonial home and commenced living separately and said that the court wasn't alive to the objects and reasons, and therefore the spirit of the provisions under Section 125 of the code.

“The domestic relations court had disregarded the fundamental canon of law that it's the sacrosanct duty of the husband to supply backing to the wife and to the minor children. 

The husband is required to earn money even by physical labour, if he's an able-bodied, and will not avoid his obligation, except on the legally permissible grounds mentioned within the statute. In Chaturbhuj vs Sita case, it's been held that the thing of maintenance proceedings isn't to punish an individual for his past neglect, but to stop vagrancy and destitution of a deserted wife, by providing her food, clothing, and shelter by a speedy remedy,” the bench said.

The bench also disapproved the Punjab and Haryana judicature passing order during a very casual manner by upholding “such an erroneous and perverse order of family court”. The court passed the order in favour of the wife who approached the apex court and was fighting a legal battle for maintenance for around a decade after she left her matrimonial zero in 2010 .