Punjab & Haryana High Court: Females in live-in relationships have a legal right to claim maintenance as accorded to married females

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Justice Jaishree of the Punjab & Haryana High Court in ‘Ajay Bhardwaj vs. Jyotsana and others’  held that females in  live in relationships, are to be provided with similar maintenance rights  as accorded to married women, as outlined under section 125 of the Code of Criminal procedure, 1973. In the present case the respondent was in a live-in relationship with the petitioner and two children were born resultant of their relationship.  On the refusal of the petitioner to take responsibility of the respondent and their children, the respondent filed a suit against the petitioner before the family court in Gurgaon, Haryana claiming maintenance on the grounds that the respondent had no source of income to support herself and her children.
The petitioner approached the High Court for setting aside the order of the family court that had awarded maintenance to the respondent. The petitioner claimed in his petition that the respondent was not lawfully married to him and according to section 125 of the act, maintenance can be only awarded to lawfully married women or indigent women or dependent children. Petitioner further claimed that the respondent was able to sustain herself as she has already received alimony amounting to forty lakhs rupees from her previous husband and thus was not entitled to receive any maintenance from him in the present suit.
However, the court reinstated the decision of the family court and held that, “Section 125 CrPC was incorporated in order to avoid vagrancy and destitution for a wife/minor children/old age parents, and the same has now been extended by judicial interpretation to partners of a live-in relationship.”
The High Court awarded a total maintenance amount of thirty thousand to the respondent after taking into consideration the entire relevant factor for herself and her family’s sustenance.  
The court further held “In case the court comes to conclusion that Respondent No 1 is not entitled to maintenance, then necessary deductions are permitted from the amounts already paid.”





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