The Bombay High Court has said that a married daughter is obligated to maintain her parents in a case where parents filed an application seeking maintenance from their eldest son under Section 125(1)(d) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which gives courts the right to compel someone to maintain their parents provided that they have sufficient means to do so.

In the current case, Vasant vs. Govindrao Upasrao Naik, Criminal Revision Application No. 172/2014, the High Court rejected the contention that a married daughter has obligations only towards her husband’s family and not to her own parents. “In the instant case, married daughter proved to have been working as a Software Engineer in USA and having sufficient means, is under an obligation to maintain her parents,” it said.

The court’s reasoning was as follows: “Though the Joint Committee recommended that if there are two more children the parents may seek the remedy against any one or more of them, the same appear to have not been accepted by the Parliament in its infinite wisdom, and that is why the same is not inserted in the provision of Section 125 Cr.P.C. It thus remained only a recommendation and did not crystallize into law. Insofar as the present case is concerned, what is seen is that the eldest son has prima facie shown that the married daughter and the younger son have been earning lordly sums by way of income and because of the dispute with the eldest son and his wife, the parents have sought maintenance from him only, without joining the married daughter and younger son to the proceeding.

The High Court has ordered a new trial in this case, stating that the parents should include their daughter and youngest son in their application, because it will be in the best interests of justice.

This decision is very crucial and progressive, because it questions the idea that a married woman’s in-laws are supposed to be more important to her than her actual parents. Moreover, it challenges the notion that women cannot be providers, and puts them on an even keel with men as far as financial responsibilities are concerned.

H/T – Vagabomb