Mumbai: Observing that a step mother is entitled to receive maintenance from her step sons, the Bombay High Court has upheld a lower court order asking two brothers to pay maintenance to their step mother.
The ruling was delivered by Justice TV Nalawade of Aurangabad bench of the High Court which dismissed the plea of brothers Dr Ravikumar and Shrinivas Chetlawar, who challenged the order of a Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) asking both of them to pay Rs 750 per month to their step mother Radhabai.
One of the brothers is a doctor and the other an engineer in Nanded district of Maharashtra. They argued that Radhabai was their step mother and that they were not bound to provide her maintenance even under section 125 of CrPc as had been ordered by JMFC.
They relied upon a Bombay High Court judgement which had observed that a step mother is not covered under section 125 of CrPc, while interpreting the term "mother" and discussing the status of 'step mother'.
However, Radhabai's lawyer relied upon a Supreme Court verdict, which observed that a liberal view would have to be taken while considering provisions of section 125 of CrPc and the intention of the legislature.
The apex court had opined that a childless step mother may claim maintenance from her step son provided she is a widow or her husband, if living, is also incapable of supporting and maintaining her.
Radhabai argued that she had no issue and that she was the first wife of the father of the petitioners. As she could not conceive, there was the second marriage. She said all the property left behind by her deceased husband was with the petitioners. One of them was a doctor and the other an engineer. Both are in government service.
The High Court, considering the Supreme Court views on granting maintenance to step mother and the facts and the circumstances of this case, held that Radhabai was entitled to get maintenance from her step sons.
The court observed that JMFC had granted a meagre amount as maintenance and steps sons were duty bound to look after their step mother. Accordingly, the judge dismissed the petition filed by brothers challenging JMFC's order.