Report No. 48
62. Scope of section 488 to be extended to mother of illegitimate child and girl rendered pregnant.-
One of the anomalies of section 488 is that while the mother of an illegitimate child is entitled to take proceedings for maintenance, for the benefit of the child, there is no independent right vested in her to take proceedings for her own maintenance. Moreover, a girl who has been seduced by a male and is subsequently left by the male cannot claim maintenance for herself, even if pregnancy follows. Such cases, fortunately rare so far, are bound to increase with growing urbanisation and changes in social structure.
If there is justification for an illegitimate child being allowed to proceed under section 488, there is greater justification for allowing the seduced girl who has been rendered pregnant1. The additional condition that pregnancy must have followed is suggested mainly as an evidentiary safeguard. We therefore recommend that the scope of section 488 should be extended to the two cases mentioned just now, namely (i) mother of an illegitimate child, and (ii) an unmarried girl with whom a male has had intercourse leading to pregnancy.
1. The question of criminal liability is considered in 42nd Report (Penal Code), para. 20.23.