State and Centre can’t issue guidelines on maintenance grant to wives: Bombay high court
The bench clarified that while considering maintenance pleas, it would rely on guidelines contained in the legal provisions concerned and binding judgments of higher courts.Updated: Aug 17, 2019 00:47 IST
The Bombay high court (HC) last week rejected a Solapur resident’s plea seeking direction to the Central or state government to frame guidelines over maintenance grant to wives under various provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (DV) Act, 2005.
A division bench of justices Akil Kureshi and SJ Kathawalla said that neither the Centre nor the state government was empowered “to issue guidelines to govern judicial discretion of competent courts while considering maintenance pleas.”
It also rejected his alternate plea to lay down the guidelines itself. The bench clarified that while considering maintenance pleas, it would rely on guidelines contained in the legal provisions concerned and binding judgments of higher courts.
In May 2013, the Solapur resident’s wife had filed a complaint under section 498A (cruelty to woman by husband or relative) of the IPC at Vijapur Naka police station. The woman also filed pleas for maintenance under section 125 of the CrPC and relevant provisions of the DV Act to a family court in Solapur. In February 2017, the family court ordered the man to pay monthly maintenance of Rs 30,000 to his wife and Rs 10,000 to his minor son. He challenged the order in HC, which dismissed his appeal three months later.
Last year, he filed a fresh plea seeking directions to the government for framing of guidelines for maintenance under the various provisions. The court rejected the petition on August 8. He also challenged the constitutional validity of section 125 of the CrPC, stating it violated the constitutional mandate of gender equality as it provides for maintenance only to the wife. The court found the assumption wrong, as the section also conferred maintenance even to minor children and parents unable to maintain themselves.