Married daughter also has obligation to maintain her parents, Bombay High Court

In Vasant vs. Govindrao Upasrao Naik, Criminal Revision Application No. 172/2014, an interesting question of law arose before Bombay High Court, “Whether, married daughter and younger son were necessary parties to application u/s. 125 of Cr.P.C. filed by their mother and father or Whether the parents could seek remedy against any one or more of the children?”

Section 125(1)(d) of Cr.P.C. provide remedy for father or mother unable to maintain himself or herself to claim maintenance. In present case, parents filed an application seeking maintenance under said provision of law against their eldest son to the tune of Rs. 20,000/- per month.

It was contended that the married daughter is not liable to maintain her parents since after marriage she has gone to live in her matrimonial house in the other family i.e. of her husband. Married daughter has an obligation towards her matrimonial house, husband, father-in-law and her children and therefore she cannot be held liable to maintain her parents. Further contended that, it is the choice of the parents to seek remedy against one of the children and, in the instant case, the parents had filed the application only against their eldest son.

High Court rejecting the aforementioned contention held that, “in the instant case, married daughter proved to have been working as a Software Engineer in USA and having sufficient means, is under an obligation to maintain her parents.”

Court observed that, “true that the report of Joint Committee on the Criminal Procedure Code Bill, 1973 stated that if there are two or more children, the parents may seek against any one or more of them. It is on the basis of the said recommendation of the Joint Committee, submission is being advanced that option is left with the parents to choose the son or daughter against whom claim u/s. 125 Cr.P.C. could be made. But there is no such option available to the parents.”

Court gave sound reasoning stating that, “though the Joint Committee recommended that if there are two more children the parents may seek the remedy against any one or more of them, the same appear to have not been accepted by the Parliament in its infinite wisdom, and that is why the same is not inserted in the provision of Section 125 Cr.P.C. It thus remained only a recommendation and did not crystallize into law. Insofar as the present case is concerned, what is seen is that the eldest son has prima facie shown that the married daughter and the younger son have been earning lordly sums by way of income and because of the dispute with the eldest son and his wife, the parents have sought maintenance from him only, without joining the married daughter and younger son to the proceeding. Court opined that allowing an option for the parents to choose any of them would be unjust and onerous only on one child particularly when others are also earning that too handsomely.”

Court further opined that, “married daughter and younger son are having sufficient means to maintain their parents and they should have been asked to participate in the proceedings in question to place their side before the Family Court, with pleadings and evidences from all angles. But to say that they were not necessary parties because of the available option to the parents would be doing severe injustice to only one son. They were the necessary parties to the application along with the eldest son and all of them are free to plead and prove before the Family Court as to the merits of the application and claim against them for maintenance, about they having or not having sufficient means or neglect or refusal. Court therefore; hold that the married daughter and the younger son are the necessary parties to the application”.

High Court ordered fresh trial in the matter stating that parents should be asked to join married daughter and younger son as party to the proceedings under Section 125 Cr.P.C. along with the eldest son; which would sub-serve the interest of justice.

INFORMATION COURTESY : https://indianlawyersforum.com/news/?show=171

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