In this article we have discussed Where can you file a case for maintenance under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C
Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C) is a vital legal provision in India that empowers individuals, particularly women, children, and elderly parents, to seek financial maintenance from their spouses or children. The primary objective of this section is to provide a legal remedy for those who are unable to sustain themselves financially. If you are in a situation where you need to file a case for maintenance under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C, it is essential to understand the legal process and the appropriate forum for filing such a case.
Where can you file a case for maintenance under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C
Filing a case for maintenance under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C involves specific procedural steps and requires adherence to jurisdictional rules. Here’s where you can file such a case:
- Family Court: In some states, Family Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over maintenance matters. If a Family Court exists in your jurisdiction, you may need to file your case there, as it is specialized in family-related disputes.
- Place of Residence: Another essential factor in determining where to file a Section 125 case is the place of residence of the person against whom maintenance is claimed. The case can be filed in the court where the respondent resides or where they last resided together with the person seeking maintenance as section 126 Cr.P.C Talks about jurisdiction
Relevant portion of Section 126 of Cr.P.C States as :-
126. Procedure (for Maintenance case U/s 125)
“resides” cannot be equated with places where flying visit are made. It was held in Nirman Sagar Vs. Smt. Monika Sagar Chaudhari and another (decided by High court of Madhya Pradesh in Criminal Revision 3060/2021)
In Charan Das v. Surasti Bai, AIR 1940 Lah 449: (1941-42 Cri LJ 105), it was held that the sole test on the question of residence was whether a party had the animus manendi or an intention to stay for a definite period at one place to say for a definite period at one place and if he had such an intention, then alone could he be said to reside there.
Our Hon’ble Supreme Court in Jagir Kaur v. Jaswant Singh, after having referred to the meaning of the term ‘resides’ as defined lexicographically and as interpreted by the various High Courts, has observed as follows: –
“The decisions on the subject are legion and it would be futile to survey the entire field. Generally stated no decision goes so far as to hold that ‘resides’ in the sub-section means only domicile in the technical sense of that word. There is also a broad unanimity that it means something more than a flying visit to or a casual stay in particular place. They agree that there shall be animus manendi or an intention to say for a period, the length of the period depending upon the circumstances of each case. Having regard to the object sought to be achieved, the meaning implicit in the words used, and the construction placed by decided cases thereon, we would define the word ‘resides’ thus : a person has chosen to make a particular place his abode depends upon the facts of each case.”
Procedure for Filing a Case Under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C
The process for filing a maintenance case (in brief) under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C typically involves the following steps:
- Drafting the Petition: Start by preparing a detailed petition outlining your claim for maintenance. Include your personal details, the respondent’s details, the circumstances leading to the claim, and the amount of maintenance sought.
- Filing the Petition: Submit the petition to the appropriate court, as mentioned above, along with the required number of copies and the prescribed court fees.
- Court Summons: The court will issue summons to the respondent, requiring them to appear before the court on a specified date. The respondent will be given an opportunity to present their side of the case.
- Evidence and Proceedings: Both parties will have the chance to present evidence and make their arguments before the court. The court will assess the evidence and determine the maintenance amount, if applicable.
- Maintenance Order: If the court finds merit in the claim, it will issue a maintenance order specifying the amount and the schedule of payments.
Section 125 of the Cr.P.C serves as a crucial legal provision to ensure the financial well-being of individuals who are entitled to maintenance. Knowing where to file a case under this section is essential to initiate the legal process correctly. Seek legal counsel if you are considering filing a maintenance case to ensure that you follow the appropriate legal procedures and meet the jurisdictional requirements.
Frequently asked questions(FAQs)
1. What is Section 125 of the Cr.P.C?
- Section 125 of the Cr.P.C provides a legal remedy for individuals seeking financial maintenance from their spouse or children.
2. Who can file a case under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C?
- A wife, husband, child, or parent unable to maintain themselves can file a case under this section. (Parents can file case on behalf of minor children)
3. Where can I file a case under Section 125?
- You can file a case under Section 125 at the District Court, Magistrate’s Court, or Family Court, depending on your jurisdiction.
4. Is there a specific format for the petition under Section 125?
- While there isn’t a fixed format, it should include essential details like names, addresses, and the amount sought.
5. Can I file a Section 125 case against my estranged husband even if he lives in a different city?
- Yes, you can file a case in the court where you reside or where you last resided together.
6. Can a working spouse be asked to pay maintenance under Section 125?
- Yes, even a working spouse can be asked to pay maintenance if the other spouse can’t sustain themselves.
7. What if I can’t afford the court fees for filing the case?
- You can request the court to waive or reduce the fees based on your financial situation.
8. How long does it take for a Section 125 case to be resolved?
- The duration varies, but it usually takes a few months to a year or more, depending on the court’s workload.
9. Can I appeal a Section 125 maintenance order if I disagree with it?
- Yes, you can appeal the order in a higher court.
10. Can a woman claim maintenance even after divorce under Section 125?
- Yes, a woman can claim maintenance post-divorce if she can prove her inability to maintain herself.
11. Can a husband file a case for maintenance against his wife under Section 125?
- Yes, a husband can file a case if he can prove that he is unable to sustain himself.
12. Is it necessary to hire a lawyer for a Section 125 case?
- While not mandatory, it’s advisable to have legal representation to navigate the legal complexities. (You can read :- Benefits of hiring Lawyer)
13. Can a child file a Section 125 case against their parents for maintenance? –
- Yes, a child, including an adult child, can file a case if they can prove their need for maintenance.
14. Can I file a Section 125 case against my live-in partner?
- No, Section 125 applies to legally married spouses only. (It is a question of debate and various high courts has included long term live in partner in defination of wife so it depends upon facts and circumstances of each case)
15. Can I claim maintenance for my minor child under Section 125?
- Yes, you can claim maintenance for your minor child under this section.
16. What happens if the respondent does not comply with the maintenance order?
- Non-compliance can result in legal penalties, including imprisonment.
17. Can I change the maintenance amount later if my financial situation changes?
- Yes, you can request a modification of the maintenance order if your circumstances change substantially.
18. Is there any time limit for filing a Section 125 case?
- No, there’s no specific time limit, but it’s best to file promptly.
19. Can I file a Section 125 case against my estranged spouse if I’m working part-time?
- Yes, if your income is insufficient to support yourself.
20. What documents do I need to submit with my Section 125 petition?
- Typically, you’ll need to provide proof of marriage, income, and expenses.
21. Can a senior citizen file a Section 125 case against their adult children?
- Yes, if they can demonstrate their need for financial support.
22. Can I claim maintenance for my education under Section 125?
- Yes, you can seek maintenance for educational expenses if you are entitled to it.
23. Can a woman claim maintenance from her father-in-law under Section 125?
- Yes, if she can prove that her husband is unable to provide maintenance.
24. Can a Section 125 case be settled out of court?
- Yes, if both parties agree to a settlement, it can be presented to the court for approval. (You can read importance of mediation in family law cases)
25. What if the respondent goes missing or cannot be located?
- The court may issue a notice through public advertisements or other means to locate the respondent.
26. Can a woman claim maintenance from her husband if she is living separately by choice?
- If she can prove her inability to maintain herself, she can still claim maintenance.
27. Can a wife claim maintenance from her husband if she is earning more than him?
- Yes, if she can demonstrate that her income alone is insufficient for her maintenance.
28. Can a wife claim maintenance if she remarries after filing a Section 125 case?
- Generally, remarriage terminates the right to claim maintenance.
29. Is there a minimum or maximum amount of maintenance that can be awarded under Section 125?
- There is no fixed minimum or maximum, as it varies based on individual circumstances.
30. Can a maintenance order be enforced in another state if the respondent moves?
- Yes, maintenance orders can be enforced in different states through legal procedures.