Adultery is a ground on which a woman can be denied maintenance. However, NCW says this a "frequently-adopted excuse" by men to deny maintenance to wives. Here's another reason why one should stay committed in a love relationship. In a move that is likely to trigger a fresh debate, National Commission for Women (NCW) has suggested that apart from wife and children, a man should be liable to pay maintenance to stepchildren and stepparents, if any, and grandparents under section 125 of the code of criminal procedure (CrPc). In fact, NCW wants even adulterous women to be paid maintenance.
Adultery is a ground on which a woman can be denied maintenance. However, NCW says this a "frequently-adopted excuse" by men to deny maintenance to wives. It wants the adultery clause 125 (v) removed.
The commission also wants the definition of wife to be expanded to include women who have lived with a man in a relationship in the nature of marriage or are wives under irregular or voidable marriages.
NCW has also proposed removing the word "illegimate" from section 125 (i) (b) and replacing it with "child", besides enlarging the section's purview to include adopted children and adult children who are unemployed and daughters who are unmarried.
The recommendations are based on a discussion with the legal fraternity at a workshop in Bangalore. The workshop at National Law School explored amendments in sections 125-127 CrPc. NCW says it is the duty of a man to maintain his family in any circumstance, irrespective of his means, and wants the clause 125 (i), which makes the law applicable to only those who have "sufficient means" but "neglects or refuses to maintain".
Men's organisations strongly objected to the recommendations. "Putting so much burden on a man is unacceptable. Cases should be decided on merit, not gender," Virag Dhulia of Save Indian Family Foundation said. NCW wants all maintenance-related cases to be disposed of within a certain timeframe and five hearings.
"It has been seen that 30% of women drop out because cases drag on for years. Hence, there should be quick disposal of cases. This cap of five hearings will go a long way in curbing delays," chairperson Girija Vyas said, adding that there should be steep penalties for defaults on payment.