A benevolent law, enabling needy and deserted women, kids and parents to seek maintenance, is often being abused by "greedy" persons for settling personal scores, the Delhi high court has said.
The court made the observation while dwelling upon the provisions of section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure which enables women, kids and parents, deserted by their near and dear ones and have no means to sustain themselves, to seek maintenance.
"This section is designed to help the needy and not the greedy. It is not meant for settling the personal scores, but it is experienced that it is often being misused and the present case is an instance," Justice ML Mehta said, adding that it was a "benevolent" law and should not be abused by deserted persons having sufficient means to live.
The court made the remark in its verdict on a petition by a Delhi-based elderly woman seeking enhancement of maintenance amount from her "retired and ailing" husband.
The woman, in her plea, had also sought maintenance from her two sons, living in Australia and Mumbai respectively.
"This is a case of really one of the unfortunate family of scattered members. All the four members are living their independent lives," the court said.
Upholding the lower court's order, Justice Mehta asked the husband to pay Rs 4,500 per month to her as maintenance.
"In addition, she would be entitled to maintenance of 100 Australian Dollars from her son living in Australia and Rs 1500 per month from her son living in Mumbai," it said. In addition, the woman, who also owns a house in Mumbai, was allowed to get Rs 5,000 from her estranged husband who has let out a floor of their three-storied house here for a monthly rent of Rs 10,000.
Discussing the conduct of the woman, the court said, "here is a lady who owns a house at Mumbai, but is neither prepared to let it out on rent nor give it to her son who is living at the mercy of his sister and sometimes, in some rented house at Mumbai".
It said the woman, who knows that her husband is a retired and ailing person, lied about his income.
Earlier, a magisterial court had held "she was capable of maintaining herself."