The concept of ‘maintenance’ in India is covered both under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Section 125) and the personal laws. This concept further stems from Article 15(3) reinforced by Article 39 of the Constitution of India, 1950 (the 'Constitution'). Under Indian law, the term ‘maintenance’ includes an entitlement to food, clothing and shelter, being typically available to the wife, children and parents.
It is a measure of social justice and an outcome of the natural duty of a man to maintain his wife, children and parents, when they are unable to maintain themselves.1 The object of maintenance is to prevent immorality and destitution and ameliorate the economic condition of women and children.
Section-125. Order for maintenance of wives, children and parents.
A Magistrate of' the first class may, upon proof of such neglect or refusal, order such person to make a monthly allowance for the maintenance of his wife or such child, father or mother, at such monthly rate1[***] as such magistrate thinks fit, and to pay the same to such person as the Magistrate may from time to time direct::
Provided that the Magistrate may order the father of a minor female child referred to in clause (b) to make such allowance, until she attains her majority, if the Magistrate is satisfied that the husband of such minor female child, if married, is not possessed of' sufficient means.
[Provided further that the Magistrate may, during the pendency of the Proceeding regarding monthly allowance for the maintenance under this sub-section, order such person to make a monthly allowance for the interim maintenance of his wife or such child, father or mother, and the expenses of such proceeding which the Magistrate considers reasonable, and to pay the same to such person as the Magistrate may from time to time direct:
Provided also that an application for the monthly allowance for the interim maintenance and expenses for proceeding under the second proviso shall, as far as possible, be disposed of within sixty days from the date of the service of notice of the application to such person]