Historic Verdict: Son can no longer refuse maintenance to his parents

OVERVIEW

Historic Verdict: Son can no longer refuse maintenance to his parents

Is there no responsibility of a son in taking care of his parents? Can a parent demand monthly maintenance from his son? Can a son put a condition before the parents that he will agree to maintain them only if his parents live with him? And can deny it if they live apart. Many such questions arise in our daily life, and we read such news in our newspapers daily. Every other day even disputes occur when a son does not take proper care of his parents. So, what can parents do? In this blog, a case has been told in which the Bombay High Court has given an important decision recently related to the maintenance of parents.

The Bombay High Court held that a son's responsibility is to take care of his parents and provide them with fixed monthly maintenance if he does not want to live with them.

Case: Jagannath Bhagnath Bedke vs. Haribhau Jagannath Bedke, 8 July 2022

Facts of the case

  • A father had four children, of which 3 were daughters and one son. After the son's marriage, his wife started living with his son and daughter-in-law. His daughters were already married. But that father lived alone, as his beta and daughter-in-law did not keep him well. Along with this, the father had no independent income source and could not do any job.
  • The father filed a petition for maintenance under section 125 of CrPC. That petition demanded that his son earn well, so his son should provide maintenance as he had no independent source of income.
  • The magistrate ruled that the son would have to pay his father Rs 5000 monthly maintenance.
  • The son filed a revision petition against the magistrate's decision. The son's point was that his father had sold a property from which he had received a considerable amount, so there was no need for him to provide maintenance for his father. Along with this, the son ate that he would feed them only when he would stay with them at his own house. The revision petition set aside the magistrate's decision and said that the son was not required to provide maintenance to his father.

Bombay High Court decision

The father appealed to the Bombay High Court against the order of the revision petition. His father gave two grounds for obtaining maintenance from his son:

  1. First, the property with the father was sold and spent on the marriage of sons and daughters. And if the father gets the money even after selling the property, it does not mean the son will be relieved of his responsibility to maintain his father. As a child, his father cared for him, married his son, and completed all the requirements. Therefore, it is the son's responsibility also to fulfill his needs in his old age and support him.
  2. Why make such a condition that the father stays with him to raise him? His father has the freedom and can choose to live wherever he wants. The father said his son and daughter-in-law mistreat him, so he does not want to be with them.

In the end, the Bombay High Court ruled in favor of the father. Bombay High Court held that it does not matter whether his father sells his property or not. According to section 125, the son should provide maintenance to his father. Because when the parents cannot maintain themselves in old age, it is the son's responsibility. The court also said that no son could compel his parents to live with him to get maintenance. He was held responsible for the father's maintenance whether his father stayed with him. Therefore, the Bombay High Court ordered the son to pay the fixed monthly maintenance to the father, which the lower court gave. The court also said that it is essential to remember the basic meaning of section 125 of CrPC.

Section 125 of CrPC

According to this section, if the wife or husband or senior citizens or parents or children (boy-girl) cannot maintain themselves, then the magistrate can apply to the 1st class or metropolitan magistrate. After which, the court can direct monthly maintenance.

Conclusion

Section 125 guarantees that if a son's parents cannot maintain themselves, it is the son's responsibility to provide monthly maintenance to his parents. It doesn't matter if his parents live with him or not. Also, along with section 125, there is the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. Parents can also remove the son from their property if their son does not treat them properly.

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