City Criminal Courts and Family Courts premises are full of women in distress seeking maintenance from affluent husbands who may have forced them to leave marital home.
They are also accompanied by their legitimate or illegitimate children who also seek compensation.
The aged mothers and father also come to seek maintenance from their sons who may have thrown out them from their own houses.
All these applications are filed under Sec. 125 of Criminal Procedure Code. No court fee is payable. These are summary (Speedy) provision. A wife does not have bring proof of marriage. Judge has to only see if there were/are “marriage relationship” or not. Same is about children and aged parents. They have to show only make them statements on oath should inspire confidence of judge that they are speaking truth. Often a little evidence is enough.
Some judgements I read long ago in Gujarat said that even one day “Living together like husband and wife” entitles a cheated woman to seek monthly maintenance.
Earlier, these cases used to go on for years. But then one day, Gujarat High Court relying on a Supreme Court judgement held that every court which has power to grant final relief can also grant interim or exparte maintenance order.
Since then all such applications are filled along with interim applications of maintenance which are decided in one or two months. So case may go on but women, children, parents start getting monthly maintenance amounts.
For more details, please consult your lawyer or Google Search for Sec.125 of Cr.P.C.
One Gujarat small court judge discovered a formula to count maintenance payable. Calculate total income of husband. Divide it by total number of dependents on husband and count accordingly.
The law however is silent on how decide amount. Judges look at facts of case and decide as per income, lifestyle status of parties.
No upper limit to what court can award.
Note: This post is inspired by a journalist and NGO at Hyderabad