CRPC 1973 (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     11th July 2024        
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Context: The Supreme Court upheld a Telangana High Court ruling permitting a Muslim man's ex-wife to seek maintenance under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC). 

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC)

  • Definition: It is a procedural law that establishes the guidelines for criminal case investigation and trial in India.
  • Date of Enforcement: April 1, 1974.
  • Key Provisions
  • Offenses Investigation: The Criminal Procedure Code describes how law enforcement authorities look into offenses.
  • Arrest of Persons: It outlines the circumstances in which someone may be placed under arrest as well as the protocols to be adhered to both during and following the arrest.
  • Bonds and Bail: The CRPC outlines the circumstances in which an arrested individual may be released on bond as well as the terms of such a release.
  • Trial Procedures: It outlines the steps that must be taken to try criminal charges, such as questioning witnesses, taking statements, and presenting evidence.
  • Sentencing and Judgements: The Criminal Procedure Code (CRPC) describes how sentencing and judgments are given in criminal cases.

    The Present Case

    • Background: Petitioner d challenged a 2017 family court order directing him to pay maintenance of Rs 20,000 per month to his former wife. The Telangana High Court, on appeal, refused to set aside the order of the family court.
    • Section 125 CrPC: It places an obligation on “any person having sufficient means” to maintain “his wife” or “his legitimate or illegitimate minor child” if they are unable to maintain themselves — typically through monetary support at regular intervals.

    oSection 125 CrPC is aligned with the power to create special provisions for women under Article 15(3) of the Constitution and the State's obligation under Article 39(e).

    • Additional Maintenance Provisions: The ruling reiterated that maintenance under Section 125 CrPC exists in addition to the provisions under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 (MWPRD Act), not against it.
    • No Bar for Divorced Muslim Women: Parliament did not create any bar for a divorced Muslim woman from claiming maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC while enacting the 1986 Act.

    Landmark Rule

    • Supreme Court Ruling: The Supreme Court upheld the Madhya Pradesh High Court's decision that Shah Bano was entitled to maintenance under Section 125 even after the iddat period if she was unable to maintain herself.
    • Enactment of MWPRD Act: In response to the Shah Bano verdict, the government enacted the MWPRD Act, placing the obligation to pay maintenance after the iddat period on the relatives or children of the divorced wife and, in their absence, on the State Wakf Board.
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