Stepmother is entitled for maintenance under section 125 crpc


I am a destitute lady; my husband died in the year 2000. My stepson is refusing to maintain me, and I have no child. Can I claim maintenance from my stepson?

Question from - Maintenance | Section 125 CrPC

If the mother is living under destitution, she is entitled to maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (crpc). This section gives her a right to get alimony from her son.

A woman can invoke the section only when her child or husband refuses to maintain her despite having sufficient means. The provision under section 125 unambiguously mandates that the real mother is entitled to maintenance from her son, but it is silent about the stepmother.

The Supreme Court in the interpretation of section 125 crpc enlarged the meaning of word mother. Due to such liberal interpretation, the stepmother is also entitled to maintenance from her stepchild. If the stepmother has a real child she cannot invoke this section for support from stepchild.

Primarily stepmother cannot claim maintenance from her stepchild. If she is issueless or has not a real child, then her right to maintenance is enforceable under section 125 crpc.

Needlessly to say that section 125 has social favour. Section 125 enacted with a view to saving the destitute parents by providing a swift procedure under the crpc. This section also empowers the Magistrate to execute its maintenance order forcefully. Therefore, a penal provision is inserted for default of payment of maintenance.

A stepmother is also entitled to invoke this section to get maintenance from her stepson. She can claim maintenance under section 125 if:

  1. She is a childless woman.
  2. She has been living under destitution.
  3. Her husband has died.
  4. Stepson has sufficient means to maintain her, but he refuses when she claims thereof.

In Kirtikant D. Vadodaria v. State of Gujrat (1996) 4 SCC 479; the Supreme Court has held that however section 125 is silent about right to maintenance of stepmother, but this section needs to be interpreted liberally. The court further held that a childless stepmother is entitled to maintenance from her stepson under section 125 crpc. 

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