Tuesday, 15 September 2020

What is the difference between rights of major unmarried daughter to claim maintenance from her father U/S 125 of CRPC and U/S 20 (3) of Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act?

Section 20 of the Hindu
Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, needs to be
noted, which provides for maintenance of children and
aged parents, which is as follows:-
“20. Maintenance of children and aged
parents.— (1) Subject to the provisions of
this section a Hindu is bound, during his
or her lifetime, to maintain his or her
legitimate or illegitimate children and
his or her aged or infirm parents.
(2) A legitimate or illegitimate child may
claim maintenance from his or her father
or mother so long as the child is a minor.
(3) The obligation of a person to maintain
his or her aged or infirm parent or a
daughter who is unmarried extends in so
far as the parent or the unmarried
daughter, as the case may be, is unable to
maintain himself or herself out of his or
her own earnings or other property.
Explanation.— In this section “parent”
includes a childless step-mother.”

12. The Act, 1956 was enacted to amend and codify the
law relating to adoptions and maintenance among
Hindus. A bare perusal of Section 125(1) Cr.P.C. as
well as Section 20 of Act, 1956 indicates that
whereas Section 125 Cr.P.C. limits the claim of
maintenance of a child until he or she attains
majority. By virtue of Section 125(1)(c), an
unmarried daughter even though she has attained
majority is entitled for maintenance, where such
unmarried daughter is by reason of any physical or
mental abnormality or injury is unable to maintain
itself. The Scheme under Section 125(1) Cr.P.C.,
thus, contemplate that claim of maintenance by a
daughter, who has attained majority is admissible
only when by reason of any physical or mental
abnormality or injury, she is unable to maintain
herself. 
 Section 20(3) of Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance
Act, 1956 is nothing but recognition of principles of
Hindu Law regarding maintenance of children and aged

parents. Section 20(3) now makes it statutory
obligation of a Hindu to maintain his or her
daughter, who is unmarried and is unable to maintain
herself out of her own earnings or other property.
Unmarried
daughter is clearly entitled for maintenance from her
father till she is married even though she has become
major, which is a statutory right recognised by
Section 20(3) and can be enforced by unmarried
daughter in accordance with law.
33. There may be a case where the Family Court has
jurisdiction to decide a case under Section 125
Cr.P.C. as well as the suit under Section 20 of Act,
1956, in such eventuality, Family Court can exercise
jurisdiction under both the Acts and in an
appropriate case can grant maintenance to unmarried
daughter even though she has become major enforcing

her right under Section 20 of Act, 1956 so as to
avoid multiplicity of proceedings as observed by this
Court in the case of Jagdish Jugtawat (supra).
However the Magistrate in exercise of powers under
Section 125 Cr.P.C. cannot pass such order.
 The maintenance as contemplated under Act, 1956
is a larger concept as compared to concept of
maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C. Section 3(b) of Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act while defining maintenance gives an inclusive definition including marriage expenses 
The purpose and object of Section 125 Cr.P.C. as
noted above is to provide immediate relief to
applicant in a summary proceedings, whereas right
under Section 20 read with Section 3(b) of Act, 1956
contains larger right, which needs determination by a
Civil Court, hence for the larger claims as enshrined
under Section 20, the proceedings need to be
initiated under Section 20 of the Act and the
legislature never contemplated to burden the
Magistrate while exercising jurisdiction under

Section 125 Cr.P.C. to determine the claims
contemplated by Act, 1956.
 We, thus, accept the submission of the learned
counsel for the appellant that as a preposition of
law, an unmarried Hindu daughter can claim
maintenance from her father till she is married
relying on Section 20(3) of the Act, 1956, provided
she pleads and proves that she is unable to maintain
herself, for enforcement of which right her
application/suit has to be under Section 20 of Act,
1956.
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 615 o f 2020

ABHILASHA  Vs  PARKASH 


Author: ASHOK BHUSHAN,J.
Dated:September 15, 2020.
Read full judgment here:Click here
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