Maintenance laws designed to help needy not greedy, says HC

The maintenance laws are "designed to help the needy and not the greedy", the Delhi High Court has said while expressing displeasure at the misuse of the benevolent provisions to settle personal scores.

The court’s remark, in a recent order, came on a plea filed by an elderly woman seeking enhancement of the maintenance amount from her retired husband and two working sons, based in Australia and Mumbai.

"The petitioner (elderly woman) seems to be trying to abuse the benevolent provisions of section 125 CrPC. This section is designed to help the needy and not the greedy,” Justice M L Mehta said. 

It is not meant for settling personal scores, but it is experienced that it is often being misused and the present case is an instance," added Mehta. . Upholding the lower court order, Justice Mehta asked the petitioner’s husband to continue paying Rs 4,500 per month to her as maintenance.  The woman’s son living in Australia was told to pay her 100 Australian dollars every month, while her second son living in Mumbai was told to pay Rs 1,500 per month.The court while disposing of the woman’s plea said that she was living in a house where she was not incurring any expenses on rent or other amenities,and continuously getting Rs 4,500 per month from her husband.

She was also entitled to the medical facilities of her retired husband as per his service rules, the judge said. 

The court noted that the woman owned a house in Mumbai which she was not letting out on rent.

“This shows the conduct of the petitioner, who seems to be not only greedy and trying to settle scores, but is extremely aggressive also,” the court said.

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