Maintenance under section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC)

Although right to maintenance forms a part of the personal law, but in order to protect women and children and provide a swift and cheap remedy against neglect and refusal to maintain, a secular safeguard irrespective of personal laws of the parties was necessary. With this intention Sec. 125 was inserted in the Cr.PC.

As per maintenance laws in India, if a woman has already claimed maintenance under section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, she can legally claim maintenance under section 125 of Cr.P.C simultaneously. Courts have, in several judgments, ruled that remedy under section 125 and Sec. 24 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 are independent and not relevant to each other.

There is no conflict between the two provisions. A person may sue for maintenance under section 125 of Cr.P.C. If a person has already obtained maintenance order under his or her personal law, the magistrate while fixing the amount of maintenance may take that into consideration while fixing the quantum of maintenance under the Code.         

 The following can claim maintenance under section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code irrespective of their religion;      

  1. Wife, if she is unable to maintain herself,

  2. Legitimate or illegitimate minor child, whether married or not, who is unable to maintain himself or herself

  3. Father or mother, who is unable to maintain himself or herself

There is no limitation period for making an application for maintenance under this section.

 A wife shall lose her right to receive an allowance from her husband if under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code if:

  1. She is living in adultery, or

  2. Without any sufficient reason she refuses to live with her husband, or

  3. They are living separately by mutual consent.


However, if the husband has married another woman or keeps a mistress, it shall be considered to be just ground for the wife's refusal to live with him