Stepsons must support childless stepmother

Chhattisgarh high court has upheld that a childless stepmother is entitled to maintenance from her stepsons.

A single bench of Justice Sanjay K Agrawal on Wednesday dismissed a criminal revision petition filed by Deenbandhu and Kanwar Lal, questioning the order of a family court in Kanker district that directed a 70-year-old woman to get maintenance of Rs 1,000 from her stepson.

Petitioners counsel D N Prajapathi argued that Section 125 of code of criminal procedure code, 1973, does not include the stepmother, who is unable to maintain herself. Non-applicant Birajo Bai’s counsel supported the order of family court, citing judgments of other high courts.

Sourabh Dangi, who was appointed as amicus curiae, submitted that though Section 125 of CRPC states mother would not include stepmother, a stepmother who is childless would be entitled to maintenance from stepson, as Section 25 of CrPC is a benevolent legislation. He contended that the order of the family court is not unexceptionable.

Quoting principles of rules laid down by Supreme Court, Justice Agrawal said in his order that there is a categorical finding recorded by the family court that the non-applicant is the first wife of late Brijlal and is childless and the applicants are sons of Brijlal from his second wife and as such they are stepsons of the woman, who sought maintenance.

Stating that the finding is exceptionable and unquestionable, the order said that consequently she, being a childless stepmother living alone and unable to maintain herself, is entitled for maintenance from her stepsons and the family court order is “absolutely justified”.

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