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HomeNationKerala High Court advocates for a maintenance law for destitute women, children

Kerala High Court advocates for a maintenance law for destitute women, children

It was considering a revision petition moved by a man challenging the order of a family court sentencing him to undergo imprisonment for ten months after he failed to pay the arrears of maintenance allowance to his wife and two children for twenty-eight months.

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The Kerala High Court has urged Parliament to consider bringing in a comprehensive maintenance law so that destitute women and children get monthly allowances without taking legal steps.

Justice C.S. Dias pointed out that the apex court had come out with guidelines to eliminate stumbling blocks in the disposal of maintenance applications and the enforcement of orders, but for some reason there is a huge delay, and hence it was suggested that the Parliament bring in changes to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) which deals with the maintenance of wives, children, and parents.

“Destitute women and children are made to loiter in the corridors of the courts to receive their monthly maintenance, which adds to their woes. In the light of the authoritative pronouncement by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Rajnesh v. Neha and again reiterated in Aditi Alias Mithi v. Jithesh Sharma, this Court is of the firm view that the time is ripe for the Parliament to ponder bringing corresponding changes in Chapter IX of the Code to make it in consonance with the law declared in Rajnesh or even think of a comprehensive maintenance law,” said the court.

It was considering a revision petition moved by a man challenging the order of a family court sentencing him to undergo imprisonment for ten months after he failed to pay the arrears of maintenance allowance to his wife and two children for twenty-eight months.

“In the said situation, it would be a mockery of justice to sentence the revision petitioner to a fleabite sentence of imprisonment for one month, as urged by his counsel, when admittedly the revision petitioner has to pay arrears of maintenance for 28 months. It is only a hyper-technical contention that the respondents have to file separate execution applications for each month’s default, and only then can separate sentences of imprisonment for up to a month be imposed. The law does not postulate such an arduous procedure to be followed by persons living in vagrancy and destitution,” held the court.

After going through the procedures in the case, the court confirmed the order of the family court imposing 10 months imprisonment but clarified that he shall be released from prison after paying the entire maintenance sum due to his wife and children.

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