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Is Maintenance Under the Domestic Violence Act the Same As Section 125 CrPC?

The Bombay High Court recently ruled stating that maintenance under the domestic violence act is not the same as refusal or neglect to pay maintenance to the wife under Section 125.

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Shivangi Mukherjee
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Maintenance Under the Domestic Violence Act
The Bombay High Court recently ruled stating that maintenance under the domestic violence act is not the same as refusal or neglect to pay maintenance to the wife under Section 125.
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The Constitution of India provides maintenance money for women who have suffered domestic violence payable to them by their husbands. This provision is listed under the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act).

Section 125 of the Code of Criminal (CrPC) Procedure allows a Magistrate of the first class to dictate maintenance money to be paid to the wife in case of refusal or neglect to pay maintenance on part of the husband. The husband is exempt from paying this maintenance to his wife if the wife engages in adultery, decides to not live with her husband without a substantial reason, or if both parties have mutually decided to live separately.

Only Section 125 of the CrPC has the power invested in it by the Indian Constitution to deal with refusal or neglect to pay maintenance. Even though the DV Act has provisions for payment of maintenance, it does not have the power to question neglect or refusal of maintenance if it has been denied.

However, a sessions court made the error of using the legal authority of both the DV Act and Section 125 interchangeably. Stepping in, the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court ruled against it.

Legal Scope of Maintenance Under Domestic Act

The Case where the legal scope of maintenance under the Domestic Act came into question. A wife had made an application to a judicial magistrate under the DV Act for maintenance. The magistrate had rejected her application.

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The matter then appeared before the sessions court and the sessions court directed the husband to grant maintenance to the wife. However, as stated by the Bombay High Court this was outside of the jurisprudence of the sessions court as it was listening to a petition for the DV Act. A case made under the DV Act cannot be tested for refusal and neglect of maintenance. Therefore, the husband should not have been directed to pay maintenance.

The husband challenged the decision of the sessions court to the Bombay High Court as he felt wrong. The Bombay High Court looked into the matter and a case could have been made based on Section 125 for refusal to maintenance. However, no evidence of domestic abuse had been found. Therefore, the wife was refused maintenance.


Also Read: Woman Is Entitled To Maternity Leave Post Birth: Allahabad High Court

Section 125 CrPC Maintenance Under the Domestic Violence Act
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