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Bench: JUSTICE P.R. Borkar

SHIVAJI Vs. ALKA & ANR. On 14 January 2010

Law Point:
Minor son not be entitled for maintenance under Section 125, Cr.P.C. from the date on which he attained majority.





Heard Mr. P.B. Patil, learned Counsel for the petitioner and Mrs. M.L. Sangit, learned Counsel for the respondents.

2. Rule. Rule made returnable forthwith.

With consent of parties, the matter is taken up for final hearing.

3. Briefly stated, it is the case of the present petitioner that he is husband of respondent No. l and father of respondent No. 2. The respondents had filed Criminal Misc. Application No. 156 of 1999, under Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure. Maintenance amount of Rs. 600 per month was awarded to respondent No. l and maintenance amount of Rs. 500 per month was awarded to respondent No. 2. Thereafter, Criminal Misc. Application No. 129 of 2005 came to be filed stating that respondent No. 2 attained majority on 14th April, 2008 and was earning, and, as such, not entitled to get maintenance, and, therefore, order of maintenance awarded to respondent No. 2 be cancelled.

4. Respondent No. l filed her written statement at Exh. 8 and denied that the respondent No. 2 had attained majority, and stated that respondent No. 2 was studying in 10th standard at Deolali. Nashik and if, maintenance is cancelled, he would not be able to complete his education and starve.

5. The learned Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Chalisgaon decided the application by his judgment and order passed on 1st February, 2008 and observed in paragraph No. 14 that the applicant in his affidavit stated that respondent No. 2 had become major and also filed Birth Certificate at Exh. 11 but it does not bear the name of respondent No. 2 – Kiran. However, in cross-examination, respondent No. l admitted that the Birth Certificate is of respondent No. 2 and that he completed 20 years. But according to her respondent No. 2 was studying in 12th standard and was not able to maintain himself and required maintenance for his education and livelihood. The learned Trial Court held that there is no change in the circumstances and dismissed the application.

6. Against the said order of dismissal. Revision Application No. 44 of 2008 came to be filed in Sessions Court at Jalgaon. The learned Sessions Judge decided revision application on 29th July, 2009 and held that mother with whom such son is staying would be entitled for maintenance after taking into consideration the amount which would be required to be spent on maintenance of son. The learned Judge relied upon the case of Geetanjali Gajanan Tendulkar v. Gajanan Dinkar Tendulkar, I (1990) DMC 59=1989 (1) BCR 334.

7. Heard Counsel for both sides.

8. Section 125(1) of Code of Criminal Procedure is as follows:

“125. (d) 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 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, as such Magistrate thinks fit, and to pay the same to such person as the Magistrate may from time-to-time direct.”

9. To a specific query, Mrs. M. L. Sangit, learned Counsel for the respondents fairly admitted that it is not the case of respondents that respondent No. 2 is a child though attained majority, that by reason of any physical or mental abnormality or injury, he was unable to maintain himself. She stated that he is a normal child studying in 12th standard. She further added that no such case was made out before the Trial Court and present case does not fall under Clause (c) of Section 125(1) of Criminal Procedure Code and this case falls under Clause (b) of Section 125(1) of Criminal Procedure Code. Here, the son has attained majority, and as per Clause (b), only minor son is entitled to the maintenance who is unable to maintain itself and it does not include major son. The learned Counsel for respondents, Mrs. M. L. Sangit relied upon paragraph No. 4 of Judgment of Gitanjali’s case (cited supra):

“4. I do not think that the law could be that inert. It is not so much of law as it is of life. The rule of law must run close to rule of life. The idea of granting maintenance is to see that the wife and children get a standard of living on par with the husband. Whether it is a full meal or half a meal, each one is entitled to a share. If a son reaches the age of eighteen, it does not mean that as from that date he has to starve. That is not the law. It only means that as from the age of eighteen the law takes note of the fact that he has capacity to earn. But if he still depends on his mother either for study or for shelter, that fact will have to be taken into account, when a mother (or wife) is given maintenance. He is not given any maintenance. But the one who looks after him gets it.”

The above said are observations made in a matrimonial petition filed by wife as against the husband on the ground of desertion and cruelty. The wife took out a notice of motion for interim maintenance and costs. Thus, it was a matrimonial petition filed by the wife against husband and it is not case that son who was major has made application for maintenance. It is also clear from the final order passed that the maintenance was awarded only to wife Gitanjali. The learned Judge of the Family Court, who dismissed the notice of motion, has refused to grant maintenance on the grounds that the petitioner approached the Court after nineteen years and that she was residing with a major son. It was held therein that merely because the petitioner did not approach the Court for nineteen years or that she was having a son who had attained age of majority, are no reasons to deny maintenance to her. There is nothing in the judgment cited to indicate that major son was petitioner before the Court along with his mother. So, the learned Sessions Judge did not correctly consider the ratio.

10. On the other hand, learned Counsel for the petitioner relied upon the case of Jagir Singh v. Ranbir Singh & Anr., AIR 1979 SC 381. The Supreme Court has observed in paragraph No. 8 that the order of maintenance made in favour of the major son must be deemed to be an order made under Section 125 of the new Code. It does not automatically cease to be effective on coming into force of the new Code. Once the order under Section 488 of the old Code is deemed to be an order under Section 125 of the new Code, it must be so deemed for all purposes including the application of Section 127 of the new Code. It is further observed that the admitted attainment of majority of the son and change of the law were surely circumstances which entitled the father to have the order passed in favour of the son cancelled.

11. In view of the said ratio laid down by the Supreme Court, in my opinion, the present petition must succeed. The orders passed by both Magistrate and the Sessions Judge are hereby set aside. It is held that respondent No. 2 Kiran would not be entitled for maintenance under Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure from the date on which he attained majority.

12. The petition accordingly disposed of. Rule made absolute.

Petition allowed.

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