Section 127 CrPC: Alteration in Allowance

The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is a comprehensive statute detailing the procedural aspects of criminal law in India. Within its extensive framework lies Section 127, a provision that deals with the alteration in allowance, specifically maintenance allowances.

section 127 crpc

This article delves into the nuances of Section 127 CrPC, offering a thorough understanding of its application, legal precedents, and practical implications.

Bare Act. Section 127 Cr.P.C.
Alteration in allowance.

[(1) On proof of a change in the circumstances of any person, receiving, under section 125 a monthly allowance for the maintenance or interim maintenance, or ordered under the same section to pay a monthly allowance for the maintenance, or interim maintenance, to his wife, child, father or mother, as the case may be, the Magistrate may make such alteration, as he thinks fit, in the allowance for the maintenance or the interim maintenance, as the case may be.]
(2) Where it appears to the Magistrate that, in consequence of any decision of a competent Civil Court, any order made under section 125 should be cancelled or varied, he shall cancel the order or, as the case may be, vary the same accordingly.
(3) Where any order has been made under section 125 in favour of a woman who has been divorced by, or has obtained a divorce from, her husband, the Magistrate shall, if he is satisfied that--
(a) the woman has, after the date of such divorce, remarried, cancel such order as from the date of her remarriage;
(b) the woman has been divorced by her husband and that she has received, whether before or after the date of the said order, the whole of the sum which, under any customary or personal law applicable to the parties, was payable on such divorce, cancel such order,--
(i) in the case where such sum was paid before such order, from the date on which such order was made;
(ii) in any other case, from the date of expiry of the period, if any, for which maintenance has been actually paid by the husband to the woman;
(c) the woman has obtained a divorce from her husband and that she had voluntarily surrendered her rights to 2[maintenance or interim maintenance, as the case may be,] after her divorce, cancel the order from the date thereof.
(4) At the time of making any decree for the recovery of any maintenance or dowry by any person, to whom a 3[monthly allowance for the maintenance and interim maintenance or any of them has been ordered] to be paid under section 125, the Civil Court shall take into account the sum which has been paid to, or recovered by, such person 4[as monthly allowance for the maintenance and interim maintenance or any of them, as the case may be, in pursuance of] the said order.

Madhya Pradesh--
Amendment of section 127.--In sub-section (1) of section 127 of the principal Act, for the words "father or mother", the words "father, mother, grand father, grand mother" shall be substituted.
[Vide Madhya Pradesh Act 15 of 2004, s. 4.]

West Bengal
In the proviso to sub-section (1) of section 127 of the principal Act, for the words "five hundred rupees", the words "one thousand and five hundred rupees" shall be substituted.
[Vide West Bengal Act 14 of 1995, s. 3.]

West Bengal
In Sub-section (1) of section 127 of the principal Act, the proviso shall be omitted.
[Vide West Bengal Act 33 of 2001, s. 4.]

Amendment of section 127 of Act (2 of 1974).--In section 127 of the said Code,--
(a) in sub-section (1), in the proviso, for the words "five hundred rupees" the words "fifteen hundred rupees" shall be substitute;
(b) in sub-section (4),-
(i) for the words "monthly allowance", where they occur for the first time, the words "maintenance allowance" shall be substituted;
(ii) after the words "monthly allowance", where they occur for the second time, the words "or, as the case may be, the lump-sum allowance" shall be inserted.
[Vide Maharashtra Act 21 of 1999, s. 3]

Uttar Pradesh
In section 127 of the principal Act, sub-section (1), in the proviso for the words “five hundred rupees” the words “five thousand rupees” shall be substituted.
[Vide Uttar Pradesh Act 36 of 2000, s. 3]

1. 1. Subs. by Act 50 of 2001, s. 3, for sub-section (1) (w.e.f. 24-9-2001).
2. Subs. by Act 50 of 2001, s. 3, for "maintenance" (w.e.f. 24-9-2001).
3. Subs. by s. 3, ibid., for "monthly allowance has been ordered" (w.e.f. 24-9-2001).
4. Subs. by Act 50 of 2001, s. 3, for "monthly allowance in pursuance of" (w.e.f. 24-9-2001).

Understanding Section 127 CrPC

Section 127 CrPC allows for the modification of maintenance orders issued under Section 125 CrPC. Maintenance orders are financial provisions directed towards the sustenance of spouses, children, and parents who are unable to maintain themselves. Section 127 permits a change in these orders upon the occurrence of specific circumstances warranting such alteration.

See also  Understanding Section 139 CrPC: Power of Magistrate to Direct Local Investigation and Examination of an Expert

Legal Framework and Provisions

Text of Section 127 CrPC

The provision is succinct yet profound in its implications. The key clauses are:

  • Any order made under Section 125 may be altered or modified on proof of a change in circumstances.
  • The Magistrate can cancel or vary any order in light of new evidence or changed conditions.
  • It allows for recovery of maintenance in arrears under specific conditions.

Purpose of Section 127 CrPC

The primary objective of Section 127 is to ensure fairness and equity in maintenance orders. Life circumstances are dynamic, and the financial needs or capabilities of the parties involved may change. This provision safeguards against unjust or outdated maintenance payments, reflecting the current realities of the concerned individuals.

Grounds for Alteration in Allowance

Change in Financial Circumstances

A significant change in the financial status of either party can prompt a modification. This could include a substantial increase or decrease in income, employment status changes, or new financial responsibilities.

Change in Personal Circumstances

Alterations in personal life, such as remarriage, birth of a child, or death, can impact the maintenance requirements and eligibility, necessitating a reassessment.

Legal Precedents and Case Laws

Several judicial pronouncements have clarified the scope and application of Section 127. Notable cases include:

  • Vinny Parmar v. Paramjit Singh Parmar: The Supreme Court emphasized the need for a fair reassessment in light of changed circumstances.
  • Rajnesh v. Neha: This landmark ruling provided guidelines on maintenance, stressing the importance of full disclosure of financial status by both parties.

Practical Applications and Procedures

Filing for Alteration

See also  Understanding Section 128 CrPC: Enforcement Order Maintenance

To initiate an alteration, the concerned party must file a petition with the Magistrate who issued the original order. The petition should detail the changed circumstances and provide supporting evidence.

Court Procedure

Upon receiving the petition, the court examines the merit of the claim through hearings and evidence presentation. The court’s decision hinges on a thorough assessment of the changed circumstances and their impact on the maintenance needs or capabilities.

Challenges and Considerations

Proving Change in Circumstances

One of the significant challenges is demonstrating the change convincingly. The onus lies on the petitioner to provide substantial evidence of the altered circumstances.

Balancing Interests

The court must carefully balance the interests of both parties, ensuring that the maintenance order is just and equitable, considering the new realities.

Impact on Recipients

Any reduction in allowance can have severe implications for the recipient, particularly if they are heavily reliant on the maintenance for their sustenance.


Section 127 CrPC is a crucial legal provision that ensures maintenance orders remain fair and relevant in light of changing circumstances. It embodies the dynamic nature of justice, adapting to the evolving financial and personal realities of the parties involved. For those seeking an alteration in maintenance allowance, understanding the legal framework, grounds for modification, and procedural nuances is essential. By doing so, they can effectively navigate the legal landscape and secure a just outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions

A change in circumstances can include significant financial shifts, personal life changes like remarriage or birth of a child, or any other substantial change affecting maintenance needs or capabilities.

Yes, the Magistrate has the authority to cancel or vary an existing maintenance order if justified by the change in circumstances.

No specific time limit is prescribed, but it should be filed as soon as the change in circumstances occurs to ensure timely reassessment.

Yes, the provision allows for the recovery of maintenance in arrears under certain conditions.

If a petition for alteration is rejected, the petitioner may explore further legal remedies such as an appeal to a higher court.