DEHRADUN: A single bench of Justice Pankaj Purohit of the Uttarakhand high court on Friday delivered what was termed by judicial watchers ‘a landmark judgment’ that specified that both parents were liable for maintenance of a child, and not just the father. The judgment drew upon the recent amendment to Section 125 of the CrPC (relating to maintenance of wives, children and parents) and interpretation of the word ‘person’ to mean both genders.
Senior HC advocate Kartikey Hari Gupta said “the court has interpreted the true legislative intent behind the purpose of using the word ‘person’ in Section 125.” “In my opinion, this is a first-of-its-kind judgment in the country,” he added.
The matter pertains to a petition filed by a woman, Anshu Gupta, in the HC, challenging a 2013 family court order that mandated her to provide Rs 2,000 per month as maintenance to her son. Gupta, a government teacher, had married Nathu Lal, a resident of Udham Singh Nagar, in 1999. They had a son, before their marriage was dissolved in 2006 due to differences, said Vivek Rastogi, advocate, who was part of the team representing the petitioner.
Nathu Lal, citing financial constraints, petitioned for maintenance, asserting his inability to afford quality education, upbringing, and sustenance for the child. Following this, the family court in 2013 asked Gupta, who was then getting a monthly salary of Rs 27,000, to pay monthly maintenance of Rs 2,000 to her son.
However, Gupta stated that after her divorce from Nathu Lal, she had married another man, Babu Lal, and had a son from that marriage. Following the death of Babu Lal in an accident, she had to take care of their son and Babu Lal’s parents, she argued.
Gupta’s counsel challenged the family court’s decision on the basis that Section 125 of CrPC obligated maintenance duty solely upon fathers, not mothers. Countering the argument, Nathu Lal’s counsel said the term “person” within the CrPC denotes both genders and should not be restricted to “father”.
The court observed that the recent amendment to Section 125 of the CrPC underscores that the term “person” includes both male and female entities. The court highlighted that “a parent, regardless of gender, possessing adequate means yet neglecting or refusing to provide for their minor child, whether legitimate or not, is liable for child maintenance.”
Noting Gupta’s stable occupation as a government teacher, earning around Rs 1 lakh as salary, the court upheld the family court’s verdict from 2013, saying there is “no illegality or impropriety in the judgment passed by the family court.”

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