The Karnataka High Court Ruled Section 125 Of The Crpc Does Not Necessitate A Wife To Demonstrate A ‘Valid Reason For Living Apart’ From Her Husband.

Title: Smt. Renuka & Ors. v Sri Venkatesh

Case No: RPFC No. 100033/2020

Date of Order: 31-07-2023



The Dharwad Bench of the Karnataka High Court has ruled that establishing a valid reason for living apart is not necessary in maintenance cases under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (Cr.P.C).


Smt. Renuka (“Petitioner/Wife”) and Sri Venkatesh (“Respondent/Husband”) are in a marital relationship. The Wife initiated legal proceedings under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.) to request financial support (maintenance) from her Husband. On November 14, 2018, the Trial Court rejected the petition, stating that the wife did not provide any evidence indicating her willingness to live with the Husband or proving that the Husband deliberately neglected her maintenance.

Subsequently, the Wife appealed this decision to the High Court.

According to Section 125 (Order for maintenance of wives, children, and parents), if an individual with sufficient financial means neglects or refuses to provide support, a first-class Magistrate, upon establishing this neglect or refusal, can order that person to pay a monthly allowance for the upkeep of their wife, child, father, or mother. The amount of the allowance is determined by the Magistrate and must be paid to the designated recipient as directed by the Magistrate.


Referring to Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.), the Court stated that a person can seek maintenance if they can show neglect or refusal to provide support. The Court emphasized that maintenance cases do not require proving a sufficient reason for living separately. The Court explained that Section 125 is designed for summary proceedings, focusing on demonstrating negligence or refusal to provide maintenance, without delving into reasons for living apart.

The Court acknowledged the unquestionable marital relationship between the Petitioner and Respondent. However, it held that the reasons for their separation cannot be addressed in maintenance proceedings and should not be decided upon.

The Court rejected the husband’s claim that he did not neglect his responsibility to provide for his wife and children, noting that this claim cannot stand since they are living separately, and the husband cannot insist that they live with him to receive maintenance.

Highlighting that Section 125 Cr.P.C. proceedings are of a summary nature and do not conclusively determine the parties’ rights and obligations, the Court overturned the Trial Court’s decision. The Family Court was directed to consider the parties’ claims on their merits and determine the appropriate amount of maintenance to be paid.

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Written by- Shreya Sharma

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