lapse in maintenance law: Delhi HC directions: Legal loophole in maintenance law letting offenders slip away
The Delhi High Court has expressed its concern over the “legal loopholes” in the Maintenance Act to “escape the violating parties”. It set aside the trial court’s order asking a man to pay maintenance for his ‘wife’ even though it was found that both the parties had other spouses.
Hearing a petition against the trial court’s decision to pay for maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), Justice Subramaniam Prasad said he sympathized with the condition of the woman. But, he is compelled to order not to pay maintenance allowance to her in accordance with the applicable law because her marriage as second wife is void by reason of the first marriage being valid, she shall not be deemed to be a legally married wife.
The judge said that despite the parties living as husband and wife, “the presumption of valid marriage is not legally justified” as both were already in a married relationship with their respective spouses and their marriages were ongoing.
As per section 125 of CrPC, if a person having sufficient means, refuses to maintain his wife, who is unable to maintain herself, the trial court shall pay such person a monthly payment for her maintenance. may order the payment of allowance.
The court observed that the purpose of the section has been defeated notwithstanding the social justice factor contained in it as it fails to prevent the exploitation that it is designed to prevent.
The judge in his order said, “This court finds it unfortunate that many women, especially women from poorer sections of the society, are routinely exploited in this manner, and the legal loopholes are completely spared the criminal parties. Allows you to leave.”
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