Step-parents and step-children

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Step-parent not liable to maintain child: HC

The Times of India, Oct 10 2015

Saeed Khan

Step-parent not liable to maintain child: Gujarat HC

The Gujarat high court has held that a stepmother or stepfather is not liable to maintain a stepchild because the provisions of Section 125 of the CrPC make it obligatory for kin to maintain only blood relations. Justice J B Pardiwala acknowledged that there is no provision in law to make it incumbent on a person to maintain a stepchild born to his spouse from another partner.He said there was need for a law to look after such helpless children in the absence of biological parents. The HC perused numerous orders of other high courts and the Supreme Court -these had relied largely on Hindu Maintenance Act, Sections 125 and 488 of the CrPC and even Hindu scriptures like the Laws of Manu -to find support for a child getting maintenance from step-parents.

The court found provisions for support of children by stepfather or stepmother in the Family Relations Act of UK. The judge quoted provisions of this law and said, “Lawmakers should address this issue in the interest of a helpless child who is thrown out by his stepfather or stepmother and there is none to take care of such a child.“

The high court gave this order while cancelling a lower court's order to a woman to pay Rs 3,000 every month to her stepdaughter.

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