Recently, The Bombay High Court ruled that parents-in-law are not entitled to claim maintenance from their widowed daughter-in-law under section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
The single Judge Bench of Justice Kishor C. Sant held that the list of relatives who are eligible to claim maintenance under the provision is exhaustive and does not include father-in-law and mother-in-law.
The petitioner, Shobha, is a widow of a deceased son of the respondents, Kishanrao and Kantabai, who are her father-in-law and mother-in-law respectively. The respondents are elderly persons with no source of income, and they have filed an application for maintenance against Shobha under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Shobha has filed her say in which she has stated that the respondents have four daughters who are married and living with their husbands, and the respondents have their own property and received a sum of money after the death of their son.
Shobha has argued that she is not legally bound to pay maintenance to the respondents as her job is not on compassionate grounds in place of her husband.
The trial court has held that maintenance can be claimed from Shobha even by her father-in-law and mother-in-law, and Shobha has challenged this order in the High Court of Bombay.
Shobha’s submission is that the respondents do not fall under any of the categories mentioned in Section 125 of the Cr. P.C., which pertains to the maintenance of wives, children, and parents who are unable to maintain themselves.
Considering the facts and submissions, the court noted that even the persons who are mentioned in section 125(1) CrPC are eligible for maintenance only if they are unable to maintain themselves.
The court emphasized that the father-in-law and mother-in-law are not mentioned in the said section, and therefore, they cannot claim maintenance from their widowed daughter-in-law under this provision.
The court also considered the fact that the petitioner, who is the widowed daughter-in-law, had received an amount of Rs. 1,88,000/- from the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) after the death of her husband, and her appointment in the state health department was not on compassionate grounds in place of her husband.
The court also took into account that the in-laws had their own land and house, and hence, they were not eligible to claim maintenance from their daughter-in-law.
Based on these grounds, the court set aside the trial court’s order awarding maintenance to the in-laws and quashed the maintenance order, stating that the in-laws are not entitled to claim maintenance from their widowed daughter-in-law under section 125 CrPC.
Case title: Shobha w/o Sanjay Tidke v. Kishanrao S/o. Ramrao Tidke and Anr.
Case No.: Criminal Writ Petition No. 1092 of 2022
Bench: Justice Kishor C. Sant