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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sec.125 Cr.P.C. - Maintenance Case - liability of husband - Husband bound to pay maintenance by doing labour also- in case of delay in court proceedings , the wife is entitled for maintenance from the date of petition - Apex court held that it is the sacrosanct duty to render the financial support even if the husband is required to earn money with physical labour, if he is able bodied. There is no escape route unless there is an order from the Court that the wife is not entitled to get maintenance from the husband on any legally permissible grounds and further held that there was enormous delay in disposal of the proceeding under Section 125 of the Code and most of the time the husband had taken adjournments and some times the court dealt with the matter showing total laxity. The wife sustained herself as far as she could in that state for a period of nine years. The circumstances, in our considered opinion, required grant of maintenance from the date of application and by so granting the High Court has not committed any legal infirmity. = CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1331 OF 2014 (Arising out of S.L.P. (Criminal) No. 1565 of 2013) Bhuwan Mohan Singh … Appellant Versus Meena & Ors. …Respondent = 2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41767

    Sec.125 Cr.P.C. - Maintenance Case - liability of husband - Husband bound to pay maintenance by doing labour also- in case of delay  in court proceedings , the wife is entitled for maintenance from the date of petition -  Apex court held that it is the sacrosanct duty to render the financial support even if  the husband is required to earn money  with  physical  labour,  if  he  is  able bodied.  There is no escape route unless there is an order  from  the  Court that the wife is not entitled to get maintenance from  the  husband  on  any
legally permissible grounds and further held that there was enormous  delay  in  disposal  of
the proceeding under Section 125 of the  Code  and  most  of  the  time  the husband had taken adjournments and some  times  the  court  dealt  with  the matter showing total laxity.  The wife  sustained  herself  as  far  as  she could in that state for a period of nine years.  The circumstances,  in  our considered  opinion,  required  grant  of  maintenance  from  the  date   of
application and by so granting the High Court has not  committed  any  legal infirmity. =

Be it ingeminated that Section 125 of the Code of  Criminal  Procedure  (for
short “the Code”) was conceived to ameliorate the agony, anguish,  financial
suffering of a woman who left her matrimonial home for the reasons  provided
in the provision so that some suitable  arrangements  can  be  made  by  the
Court and she can sustain herself and also her children  if  they  are  with
her.
The concept of sustenance does not necessarily mean to lead  the  life
of an animal, feel like an unperson to be thrown away from  grace  and  roam
for her basic maintenance somewhere else.
 She is entitled in law to lead  a
life in the similar manner as she would have  lived  in  the  house  of  her
husband.
That is where the status and strata come into play,  and  that  is
where the obligations of the husband, in case of a wife, become a  prominent
one.
In a proceeding of this nature, the husband  cannot  take  subterfuges
to deprive her of the benefit of living with dignity.
Regard being  had  to
the solemn pledge at the time of marriage and also in  consonance  with  the
statutory law that governs the field, it is the obligation  of  the  husband
to see that the wife does not become a destitute, a beggar.
A situation  is
not to be maladroitly created whereunder she is compelled to resign  to  her
fate and think of life “dust unto dust”.
It is totally  impermissible.   In
fact, it is the sacrosanct duty to render the financial support even if  the
husband is required to earn money  with  physical  labour,  if  he  is  able
bodied.  
There is no escape route unless there is an order  from  the  Court
that the wife is not entitled to get maintenance from  the  husband  on  any
legally permissible grounds. =


        In the present case, as we find, there was enormous  delay  in  disposal  of
the proceeding under Section 125 of the  Code  and  most  of  the  time  the
husband had taken adjournments and some  times  the  court  dealt  with  the
matter showing total laxity.  The wife  sustained  herself  as  far  as  she
could in that state for a period of nine years.  The circumstances,  in  our
considered  opinion,  required  grant  of  maintenance  from  the  date   of
application and by so granting the High Court has not  committed  any  legal
infirmity.  Hence, we concur with the order of the High Court.  However,  we
direct, as prayed by the learned counsel for the respondent, that he may  be
allowed to pay the arrears along with the maintenance awarded at present  in
a phased manner.  Learned counsel for the appellant did not object  to  such
an arrangement being made.  In view of the aforesaid, we direct  that  while
paying the maintenance as fixed by the learned Family Court Judge per  month
by  5th  of  each  succeeding  month,  the  arrears  shall  be  paid  in   a
proportionate manner within a period of three years from today.


Consequently, the appeal, being devoid of merits, stands dismissed.

2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41767

            IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1331 OF 2014
             (Arising out of S.L.P. (Criminal) No. 1565 of 2013)


Bhuwan Mohan Singh                      … Appellant

                                   Versus

Meena & Ors.                                   …Respondent






                               J U D G M E N T

Dipak Misra, J.

      Leave granted.

The two issues  that  pronouncedly emanate in this appeal by  special  leave
are whether the Family Court while deciding an application under Section   7
of the Family Court Act, 1984   (for  brevity,  “the  Act”)  which  includes
determination of grant of maintenance  to  the  persons  as  entitled  under
that provision,  should allow adjournments in an  extremely  liberal  manner
remaining  oblivious  of objects and reasons of the  Act  and  also  keeping
the windows of wisdom  closed  and  the  sense  of  judicial  responsiveness
suspended  to  the  manifest  perceptibility   of   vagrancy,   destitution,
impecuniosity, struggle for survival and the  emotional  fracture,   a  wife
likely to face under these circumstances  and  further  exhibiting  absolute
insensitivity to her condition, who, after loosing support  of  the  husband
who has failed to husband  the  marital  status  denies  the  wife  to  have
maintenance for almost nine years as that much time is  consumed  to  decide
the lis and, in addition, to restrict the grant of maintenance to  the  date
of order on some kind of individual notion.   Both  the  approaches,  as  we
perceive, not only defeat the command of the legislature but also  frustrate
the hope of wife and children who are deprived of  adequate  livelihood  and
whose aspirations perish like mushroom and  possibly  the  brief  candle  of
sustenance  joins  the  marathon  race  of  extinction.    This   delay   in
adjudication by the Family Court is not only against human rights  but  also
against the basic embodiment of dignity of an individual.

Be it ingeminated that Section 125 of the Code of  Criminal  Procedure  (for
short “the Code”) was conceived to ameliorate the agony, anguish,  financial
suffering of a woman who left her matrimonial home for the reasons  provided
in the provision so that some suitable  arrangements  can  be  made  by  the
Court and she can sustain herself and also her children  if  they  are  with
her.  The concept of sustenance does not necessarily mean to lead  the  life
of an animal, feel like an unperson to be thrown away from  grace  and  roam
for her basic maintenance somewhere else.  She is entitled in law to lead  a
life in the similar manner as she would have  lived  in  the  house  of  her
husband.  That is where the status and strata come into play,  and  that  is
where the obligations of the husband, in case of a wife, become a  prominent
one.  In a proceeding of this nature, the husband  cannot  take  subterfuges
to deprive her of the benefit of living with dignity.  Regard being  had  to
the solemn pledge at the time of marriage and also in  consonance  with  the
statutory law that governs the field, it is the obligation  of  the  husband
to see that the wife does not become a destitute, a beggar.  A situation  is
not to be maladroitly created whereunder she is compelled to resign  to  her
fate and think of life “dust unto dust”.  It is totally  impermissible.   In
fact, it is the sacrosanct duty to render the financial support even if  the
husband is required to earn money  with  physical  labour,  if  he  is  able
bodied.  There is no escape route unless there is an order  from  the  Court
that the wife is not entitled to get maintenance from  the  husband  on  any
legally permissible grounds.

Presently to the facts  which  lie  in  an  extremely  small  compass.   The
marriage between the appellant and the husband was solemnized on  27.11.1997
as per Hindu rites and ritual,  and  in  the  wedlock  a  son  was  born  on
16.12.1998.  The respondent, under certain circumstances, had to  leave  the
marital home and thereafter filed an application on 28.8.2002 under  Section
125 of the Code  in the Family Court, Jaipur, Rajasthan, claiming  Rs.6000/-
per month towards maintenance.  The Family Court finally decided the  matter
on 24.8.2011 awarding monthly maintenance of Rs.2500/-  to  the  respondent-
wife and Rs.1500/- to the second respondent-son.  Be it stated,  during  the
continuance of the Family Court proceedings,  number  of  adjournments  were
granted, some taken by the husband and some by the wife. The learned  Family
Judge being dissatisfied with the material brought on record  came  to  hold
that the respondent-wife  was  entitled  to  maintenance  and,  accordingly,
fixed the quantum and directed that the maintenance  to  be  paid  from  the
date of the order.

Being dissatisfied with the aforesaid order  the  respondent-wife  preferred
S.B. Criminal Revision Petition No. 1526 of 2011 before the  High  Court  of
Judicature at Rajasthan and the  learned  single  Judge,  vide  order  dated
28.5.2012, noted the contention of the  wife  that  the  maintenance  should
have been granted from the date of application, and that  she  had  received
nothing during the  proceedings  and  suffered  immensely  and,  eventually,
directed that the maintenance should be granted from the date of  filing  of
the application.

Criticizing the aforesaid order,  it  is  submitted  Mr.  Jay  Kishor  Singh
learned counsel for the appellant that  when  number  of  adjournments  were
sought by the wife, grant of maintenance from the  date  of  filing  of  the
application by the High Court is absolutely illegal and unjustified.  It  is
his submission that the wife cannot take advantage of her own wrong.

Ms. Ruchi Kohli, learned counsel for the respondents would submit  that  the
Family Court adjourned the matter sometimes on  its  own  and  the  enormous
delay  took  place  because  of  non-cooperation  of  the  husband  in   the
proceedings and, therefore, the wife who was compelled  to  sustain  herself
and her son with immense difficulty should not be allowed to suffer.  It  is
proponed by her that the High Court by modifying  the  order  and  directing
that the maintenance should be granted  from  the  date  of  filing  of  the
application has not committed any legal infirmity and hence,  the  order  is
inexceptionable.

At the outset, we are obliged to  reiterate  the  principle  of  law  how  a
proceeding under Section 125 of the Code has to be dealt with by the  court,
and what is the duty of a Family Court after establishment  of  such  courts
by the  Family  Courts  Act,  1984.   In  Smt.  Dukhtar  Jahan  v.  Mohammed
Farooq[1], the Court opined that proceedings under Section 125 of the  Code,
it must be remembered, are of a summary nature and are  intended  to  enable
destitute wives and children, the latter  whether  they  are  legitimate  or
illegitimate, to get maintenance in a speedy manner.

A three-Judge Bench in Vimla (K.) v. Veeraswamy  (K.)[2],  while  discussing
about the basic purpose under Section 125 of the Code, opined  that  Section
125 of the Code is meant to achieve a social  purpose.   The  object  is  to
prevent vagrancy and destitution.  It  provides  a  speedy  remedy  for  the
supply of food, clothing and shelter to the deserted wife.

A two-Judge Bench  in  Kirtikant  D.  Vadodaria  v.  State  of  Gujarat  and
another[3], while adverting to the dominant purpose behind  Section  125  of
the Code, ruled that:

“While dealing with the ambit  and  scope  of  the  provision  contained  in
Section 125 of the Code, it has to be borne in mind that  the  dominant  and
primary object is to give social justice to  the  woman,  child  and  infirm
parents etc. and to prevent destitution and  vagrancy  by  compelling  those
who can support those who are unable to support themselves but have a  moral
claim for support. The provisions in Section 125 provide a speedy remedy  to
those women, children  and  destitute  parents  who  are  in  distress.  The
provisions in Section 125 are intended to achieve this special purpose.  The
dominant purpose behind the benevolent provisions contained in  Section  125
clearly is that the wife,  child  and  parents  should  not  be  left  in  a
helpless state of distress, destitution and starvation.”

In Chaturbhuj v. Sita Bai[4],  reiterating  the  legal  position  the  Court
held: -

“Section 125 CrPC is a measure of social justice and  is  specially  enacted
to protect women and children and as noted by this Court in  Captain  Ramesh
Chander Kaushal v. Veena Kaushal[5] falls  within  constitutional  sweep  of
Article 15(3) reinforced by Article 39 of the Constitution of India.  It  is
meant to achieve a social purpose. The object is  to  prevent  vagrancy  and
destitution. It provides a speedy remedy for the supply  of  food,  clothing
and shelter to the deserted wife. It gives effect to fundamental rights  and
natural duties of a man to maintain his  wife,  children  and  parents  when
they  are  unable  to  maintain  themselves.  The  aforesaid  position   was
highlighted in Savitaben Somabhai Bhatiya v. State of Gujarat[6].”

Recently in Nagendrappa Natikar v. Neelamma[7], it has been stated  that  it
is a piece of social legislation which provides for  a  summary  and  speedy
relief by way of maintenance to a wife who is  unable  to  maintain  herself
and her children.


The Family Courts have been established for adopting  and  facilitating  the
conciliation procedure and to deal with family  disputes  in  a  speedy  and
expeditious manner.  A three-Judge  Bench  in  K.A.  Abdul  Jaleel  v.  T.A.
Shahida[8], while highlighting on the purpose  of  bringing  in  the  Family
Courts Act by the legislature, opined thus: -


“The Family Courts Act was enacted  to  provide  for  the  establishment  of
Family Courts with a view to promote  conciliation  in,  and  secure  speedy
settlement of, disputes relating to marriage  and  family  affairs  and  for
matters connected therewith.”


The purpose of highlighting this aspect is that in  the  case  at  hand  the
proceeding before the Family Court was conducted without being alive to  the
objects and reasons of the Act  and  the  spirit  of  the  provisions  under
Section 125 of the Code.  It is unfortunate  that  the  case  continued  for
nine years before the Family Court.  It has come to the notice of the  Court
that on certain occasions the Family Courts have been granting  adjournments
in a routine manner as a consequence of which both the  parties  suffer  or,
on certain occasions, the wife  becomes  the  worst  victim.   When  such  a
situation occurs, the purpose  of  the  law  gets  totally  atrophied.   The
Family Judge is expected to be sensitive to the issues, for  he  is  dealing
with extremely delicate and sensitive issues pertaining to the marriage  and
issues ancillary thereto.  When we say this, we do not mean that the  Family
Courts should show undue haste or impatience, but  there  is  a  distinction
between impatience and to be wisely  anxious  and  conscious  about  dealing
with  a  situation.   A  Family  Court  Judge  should  remember   that   the
procrastination is the greatest assassin of the lis before it.  It not  only
gives rise to more family problems but  also  gradually  builds  unthinkable
and Everestine bitterness.  It  leads  to  the  cold  refrigeration  of  the
hidden feelings, if still left.  The delineation of the lis  by  the  Family
Judge must reveal the awareness and balance.  Dilatory  tactics  by  any  of
the parties has to be sternly dealt with, for the Family Court Judge has  to
be alive to  the  fact  that  the  lis  before  him  pertains  to  emotional
fragmentation and delay can feed it to grow.  We hope  and  trust  that  the
Family Court Judges shall remain alert to this and  decide  the  matters  as
expeditiously as possible keeping in view the objects  and  reasons  of  the
Act  and  the  scheme  of  various  provisions  pertaining   to   grant   of
maintenance, divorce, custody of child, property disputes, etc.


While dealing with the relevant date  of  grant  of  maintenance,  in  Shail
Kumari  Devi  and  another  v.  Krishan  Bhagwal  Pathak  alias  Kishun   B.
Pathak[9], the Court referred to the Code of Criminal Procedure  (Amendment)
Act, 2001 (Act 50 of 2001) and came to hold that even  after  the  amendment
of 2001, an order for payment of maintenance can be paid by a  court  either
from the date of order or when express order  is  made  to  pay  maintenance
from the date of application, then the amount of  maintenance  may  be  paid
from that date, i.e., from the date of application. The  Court  referred  to
the decision in Krishna Jain v. Dharam Raj  Jain[10]  wherein  it  has  been
stated that to hold that, normally maintenance should be made  payable  from
the date of the order and not from the date of the application  unless  such
order is backed by reasons would amount to inserting something more  in  the
sub-section which the  legislature  never  intended.   The  High  Court  had
observed that it was unable to read in sub-section (2) laying down any  rule
to award maintenance from the date of the order or that the grant  from  the
date of the application is an exception.  The High  Court  had  also  opined
that whether maintenance is granted from the date of the order or  from  the
date of application, the Court is required to  record  reasons  as  required
under sub-section (6) of Section 354 of the Code.  After  referring  to  the
decision in Krishna Jain (supra), the Court adverted to the decision of  the
High Court of Andhra Pradesh in K. Sivaram v. K. Mangalamba[11]  wherein  it
has been ruled that the maintenance would be awarded from the  date  of  the
order  and  such  maintenance  could  be  granted  from  the  date  of   the
application only by recording special reasons.   The  view  of  the  learned
single Judge of the High Court of  Andhra  Pradesh  stating  that  it  is  a
normal rule that the Magistrate should grant maintenance only from the  date
of the order and not from the date of the application  for  maintenance  was
not accepted by this Court.  Eventually, the Court ruled thus: -

“43. We, therefore, hold that while deciding an  application  under  Section
125 of the Code, a Magistrate is required to record reasons for granting  or
refusing  to  grant  maintenance  to  wives,  children  or   parents.   Such
maintenance can be awarded from the date of the order, or,  if  so  ordered,
from the date of the application for maintenance, as the case  may  be.  For
awarding maintenance from the date of  the  application,  express  order  is
necessary. No special reasons, however, are required to be recorded  by  the
court. In our judgment, no such requirement can be read in  sub-section  (1)
of Section 125 of the Code in absence of express provision to that effect.”

In the present case, as we find, there was enormous  delay  in  disposal  of
the proceeding under Section 125 of the  Code  and  most  of  the  time  the
husband had taken adjournments and some  times  the  court  dealt  with  the
matter showing total laxity.  The wife  sustained  herself  as  far  as  she
could in that state for a period of nine years.  The circumstances,  in  our
considered  opinion,  required  grant  of  maintenance  from  the  date   of
application and by so granting the High Court has not  committed  any  legal
infirmity.  Hence, we concur with the order of the High Court.  However,  we
direct, as prayed by the learned counsel for the respondent, that he may  be
allowed to pay the arrears along with the maintenance awarded at present  in
a phased manner.  Learned counsel for the appellant did not object  to  such
an arrangement being made.  In view of the aforesaid, we direct  that  while
paying the maintenance as fixed by the learned Family Court Judge per  month
by  5th  of  each  succeeding  month,  the  arrears  shall  be  paid  in   a
proportionate manner within a period of three years from today.


Consequently, the appeal, being devoid of merits, stands dismissed.



                                             .............................J.
                                                               [Dipak Misra]



                                             .............................J.
                                                           [V. Gopala Gowda]
New Delhi;
July 15, 2014.














-----------------------
[1]    (1987) 1 SCC 624
[2]    (1991) 2 SCC 375
[3]    (1996) 4 SCC 479
[4]    (2008) 2 SCC 316
[5]    (1978) 4 SCC 70
[6]    (2005) 3 SCC 636
[7]    2013 (3) SCALE 561
[8]    (2003) 4 SCC 166
[9]    (2008) 9 SCC 632
[10]   1992 Cri LJ 1028 (MP)
[11]   1990 Cri LJ 1880 (AP)


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