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Son cannot avoid responsibility to maintain ailing father: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court upheld that a son cannot dodge his responsibilities to care for his elderly and ailing father, nor can he force the father to live with him to pay maintenance through Justice VIBHA KANKANWADI in the case of Jagannath Bedke vs Haribhau Bedke (CRIMINAL WRIT PETITION NO.1312 OF 2019)

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The petitioner had three daughters and a son, the present respondent. The petitioner’s wife is still alive, but she lives separately from the petitioner and with the respondent. According to the petitioner, he has no source of income and is unable to work due to his age. As a result, he applied above for maintenance under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. After considering the facts on record, the learned Magistrate concluded that the petitioner cannot support himself, the respondent has refused to support his father. The son is capable of supporting his father. He provided Rs.5000/- per month maintenance in such conditions.

The present respondent/son challenged the said order and reversed all the findings of the learned Magistrate, the learned Additional Sessions Judge had set aside the order passed by the Magistrate and dismissed the original application. The respondent claimed that the petitioner owned 57 R of agricultural property and sold it to one Sunil Chandrabhan Admane for Rs.3 lakh on November 9, 2015. However, the son claims that the actual consideration amount was Rs.7,50,000/-, but it was stated as less in the selling deed.

JUDGEMENT:

According to the submissions made on behalf of both sides, it was held that the petitioner is currently between the ages of 73 and 75. It was on record, and the learned Advocate for the respondent admitted that the petitioner now had no land. The question then became, what is the petitioner’s source of income?

The Court observed that even if it was accepted for the sake of argument that the petitioner had a piece of land, whether that is providing him with sufficient income to sustain him is a question, as is whether his physical ability allows him to cultivate the land or have it cultivated through anyone so that he can earn.

It was decided that the son could not shirk his responsibility to support his father. He appears to be imposing a condition on the petitioner to come and stay with him like a mother. Such a requirement cannot be imposed by the son.

It was observed that the revisional Court’s approach looks overly technical. When it comes to petitions under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C., the Courts cannot be overly technical in their approach. The provision mentioned above is made for a person’s urgent financial support in order for him or her to survive. 

Taking these factors into account, it was held that the Constitutional powers of this Court deserve to be invoked in this case when such an overly technical approach is taken, and the petitioner is forced to work now at the age of 73 to 75 years due to the dismissal of the original application under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

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