HC dismisses son’s plea against payment of maintenance to mother

Published - October 25, 2020 01:16 am IST - CHENNAI

The Madras High Court has dismissed a case filed by a person challenging two consecutive orders passed by courts directing him to pay maintenance of ₹5,000 a month to his aged mother under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

Justice P.N. Prakash said he did not find any manifest illegality in the order passed by a judicial magistrate court in Salem in 2012 and confirmed by a sessions court in 2014 while dismissing a revision petition preferred by the man under Section 397 of the CrPC. The judge pointed out that an order by a judicial or metropolitan magistrate for payment of monthly maintenance to parents, wife or children could be challenged by way of a criminal revision petition either before a High Court or a sessions court.

After the petitioner moves a revision application before the High Court or the sessions court, no further application by the same person could be entertained by either of the courts. There was a specific bar on it under Section 397(3) of CrPC.

In an attempt to overcome such a bar, the present petitioner preferred an application before the High Court under Section 482 of the CrPC (inherent power of the High Court to prevent abuse of process of any court or to secure the ends of justice).

Holding the course adopted by the petitioner as not maintainable, Justice Prakash said petitions under Section 482 could be entertained by the High Court only if there was a manifest illegality in the orders passed by the courts below. “In the present case, this court does not find any such illegality. The mother-son relationship is not disputed. Only the quantum of maintenance is challenged. This is a question of fact, which has been gone into by the two courts below,” the judge said, and dismissed the case.

Until September 24, 2001, Section 397 of Cr.P.C. authorised magistrates to order maintenance to a maximum of ₹500 a month. However, after the 2001 amendment, they were empowered to fix the quantum as they deemed fit according to the facts and circumstances of each case.

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