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Qualified women eligible to claim maintenance: HC

Written by: Staff

Kochi, Aug 2 (UNI) The Kerala High Court today held that the mere potentiality of the wife to maintain herself will not disentitle her to claim maintenance under section 125 Cr PC.

Mr Justice R Basant gave this significant ruling while dismissing the revision petition filed by one T Muraleedharan, who contended that his wife C P Vijayalakshmi, staying separately from him, was professionally qualified and a Law graduate.

The petitioner had challenged the order of the judicial first class magistrate of Ottapalam, who had had awarded maintenance to C P Vijayalakshmi at the rate of Rs 2,000 per month.

Dismissing the revision petition, Mr Justice Basanth held that ''the plight and the situation of even the educated half of the Indian polity show clearly that the qualification by itself cannot be held to be synonymous with ability to manintain themselves. Many a qualified housewife after marriage relegates herself to the kitchen and the homefront looking after children.

''She opts herself to be or is compelled to be satisfied with the role of a homemaker. After playing that role for sometime she renders herself unable to do anything more than that.

The expression 'able to maintain' must receive a dynamic and realistic interpretation in the light of the indisputable plight of the Indian woman.

The mere fact that she has qualification is not sufficient ipso facto to conclude that she is in a position to maintain herself,'' the judge observed.

He further noted that section 125 Cr P C is an ameliorative provision enacted for the underprivileged drawing support from the decision of Mr Justice V R Krishna Iyer in Bai Tahira's case.

He held that the benefit of doubt, if any, in statutory interpretation should be in favour of the ''ill-used'' wife and the derelict divorcee.


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