What is the duty of a Family Court under Section 125 Cr.P.C.

  • Principle of Law : How a proceeding under Section 125 of the Code has to be dealt with by the court, and what is the duty of a Family Court after establishment of such courts by the Family Courts Act, 1984.

When an application under Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is filed, it has to be decided by the Family Court at the earliest and such long delay in disposal of the maintenance application may defeat the very purpose of establishing the family courts.

The Family Judge is expected to be sensitive to the issues, for he is dealing with extremely delicate and sensitive issues pertaining to the marriage and issues ancillary thereto. This does not mean that the Family Courts should show undue haste or impatience, but there is a distinction between impatience and to be wisely anxious and conscious about dealing with a situation.

A Family Court Judge should remember that the procrastination is the greatest assassin of the lis before it. It not only gives rise to more family problems but also gradually builds unthinkable and Everestine bitterness. It leads to the cold refrigeration of the hidden feelings, if still left.

The delineation of the lis by the Family Judge must reveal the awareness and balance. Dilatory tactics by any of the parties has to be sternly dealt with, for the Family Court Judge has to be alive to the fact that the lis before him pertains to emotional fragmentation and delay can feed it to grow.

The Family Court Judges shall remain alert to this and decide the matters as expeditiously as possible keeping in view the objects and reasons of the Act and the scheme of various provisions pertaining to grant of maintenance, divorce, custody of child, property disputes, etc.

Case Laws on Family Court

1. Bhuwan Mohan Singh v. Meena, AIR 2014 SC 2875

In the case at hand the proceeding before the Family Court was conducted without being alive to the objects and reasons of the Act and the spirit of the provisions under Section 125 of the Code. It is unfortunate that the case continued for nine years before the Family Court. It has come to the notice of the Court that on certain occasions the Family Courts have been granting adjournments in a routine manner as a consequence of which both the parties suffer or, on certain occasions, the wife becomes the worst victim. When such a situation occurs, the purpose of the law gets totally atrophied.

2. Smt. Dukhtar Jahan v. Mohammed Farooq, (1987) 1 SCC 624 : AIR 1987 SC 1049

The Court opined that proceedings under Section 125 of the Code, it must be remembered, are of a summary nature and are intended to enable destitute wives and children, the latter whether they are legitimate or illegitimate, to get maintenance in a speedy manner.

3. Vimla (K.) v. Veeraswamy (K.), (1991) 2 SCC 375 : 1991 AIR SCW 754

A three Judge Bench in while discussing about the basic purpose under Section 125 of the Code, opined that Section 125 of the Code is meant to achieve a social purpose. The object is to prevent vagrancy and destitution. It provides a speedy remedy for the supply of food, clothing and shelter to the deserted wife.

4. Kirtikant D. Vadodaria v. State of Gujarat and another, (1996) 4 SCC 479

A two Judge Bench in while adverting to the dominant purpose behind Section 125 of the Code, ruled that: While dealing with the ambit and scope of the provision contained in Section 125 of the Code, it has to be borne in mind that the dominant and primary object is to give social justice to the woman, child and infirm parents etc. and to prevent destitution and vagrancy by compelling those who can support those who are unable to support themselves but have a moral claim for support.

The provisions in Section 125 provide a speedy remedy to those women, children and destitute parents who are in distress. The provisions in Section 125 are intended to achieve this special purpose. The dominant purpose behind the benevolent provisions contained in Section 125 clearly is that the wife, child and parents should not be left in a helpless state of distress, destitution and starvation.

5. Chaturbhuj v. Sita Bai, (2008) 2 SCC 316 : AIR 2008 SC 530 : 2007 AIR SCW 7416

Reiterating the legal position the Court held : Section 125, CrPC is a measure of social justice and is specially enacted to protect women and children.

6. Captain Ramesh Chander Kaushal v. Veena Kaushal, (1978) 4 SCC 70 : (AIR 1978 SC 1807

Its falls within constitutional sweep of Article 15(3) reinforced by Article 39 of the Constitution of India. It is meant to achieve a social purpose. The object is to prevent vagrancy and destitution. It provides a speedy remedy for the supply of food, clothing and shelter to the deserted wife. It gives effect to fundamental rights and natural duties of a man to maintain his wife, children and parents when they are unable to maintain themselves.

7. Savitaben Somabhai Bhatiya v. State of Gujarat, (2005) 3 SCC 636 : AIR 2005 SC 1809 : 2005 AIR SCW 1601

The aforesaid position was highlighted.

8. Nagendrappa Natikar v. Neelamma, 2013 (3) SCALE 561 : AIR 2013 SC 1541 : 2013 AIR SCW 1822

It has been stated that it is a piece of social legislation which provides for a summary and speedy relief by way of maintenance to a wife who is unable to maintain herself and her children. The Family Courts have been established for adopting and facilitating the conciliation procedure and to deal with family disputes in a speedy and expeditious manner.

9. K. A. Abdul Jaleel v. T. A. Shahida, (2003) 4 SCC 166 : AIR 2003 SC 2525 : 2003 AIR SCW 2710

A three Judge Bench while highlighting on the purpose of bringing in the Family Courts Act by the legislature, opined thus: “The Family Courts Act was enacted to provide for the establishment of Family Courts with a view to promote conciliation in, and secure speedy settlement of, disputes relating to marriage and family affairs and for matters connected therewith”.