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Friday, April 28, 2017

maintenance to the respondent-wife. - 25% of the husband’s net salary = Following Dr. Kulbhushan Kumar vs. Raj Kumari and Anr. (1970) 3 SCC 129, in this case, it was held that 25% of the husband’s net salary would be just and proper to be awarded as maintenance to the respondent-wife. In the result, the maintenance amount of Rs.23,000/- awarded to the respondent-wife is reduced to Rs.20,000/- per month and the impugned judgment is modified and this appeal is partly allowed. The maintenance of Rs.20,000/- per month is payable to the respondent-wife on or before 10th of every succeeding english calendar month. No costs.

                                REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                      CIVIL APPEAL NO.  5369    OF 2017
                  (Arising out of SLP(C) No. 34653 of 2016)


KALYAN DEY CHOWDHURY                            .....Appellant
                                   Versus
RITA DEY CHOWDHURY NEE NANDY             .....Respondent

                               J U D G M E N T


R. BANUMATHI, J.

Leave granted.

2.    Challenge in this appeal is to the order dated  15.09.2016  passed  by
the High Court at Calcutta in RVW No.85 of 2016 in  C.O.  No.4228  of  2012,
reviewing an order dated 02.02.2015 passed earlier in an  application  filed
under Section 25(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, thereby  enhancing  the
amount of maintenance from Rs.16,000/- per month to Rs.23,000/- per month.

3.    Parties are entangled in  several  rounds  of  litigation.  Background
facts in a nutshell are as follows: The marriage of the  appellant  and  the
respondent was solemnized on 10.08.1995 as per Hindu rites  and  customs  at
the appellant’s residence at Kalna. A male child was born on 04.10.1996   at
Chandannagore who is now a major pursuing his college education.  After  the
birth of child, it is alleged that the respondent continued in her  parent’s
house. The appellant-husband requested  the  respondent  to  return  to  the
matrimonial home at Kalna alongwith the child.  It is alleged  that  instead
of acceding to the request of the appellant-husband and  returning  back  to
the matrimonial home,  the  respondent-wife  insisted  that  the  appellant-
husband shifts to her father’s place at Chandannagore.

4.    Appellant filed an application under Section 9 of the  Hindu  Marriage
Act, 1955 for restitution of conjugal rights against the respondent-wife  in
Matrimonial Suit No.370 of  1997  before  the  District  Judge,  Burdwan  on
23.12.1997.  On  receipt  of  summons  in  the  above  matrimonial  suit  on
9.02.1998, the respondent-wife lodged an FIR bearing P.S. Case  No.25  dated
13.02.1998 under Sections 498A and 406 IPC against  the  appellant  and  his
parents at P.S. Chandannagore. The appellant and his  parents  were  granted
anticipatory bail by the Sessions Judge, Burdwan on 20.05.1998  in  the  FIR
filed by the respondent-wife. The respondent-wife also filed  a  maintenance
case being Misc.  Case  No.24/98  under  Section  125  Cr.P.C.  against  the
appellant-husband claiming maintenance for herself and the minor son.

5.    On 10.08.2000, the Additional District Judge,  Burdwan  passed  decree
of restitution of  conjugal  rights  in  favour  of  the  appellant-husband.
However, the respondent did not reconcile and preferred  an  appeal  against
the said decree of restitution of conjugal  rights  before  the  High  Court
being F.A. No.198 of 2001.  In the High Court, by an order dated  24.05.2001
an interim arrangement was made directing the appellant herein to go to  the
parental home of the respondent-wife at  Chandannagore  and  take  back  the
wife and the child to his residence at Kalna and make necessary  arrangement
for living with his wife and  child  separately  from  the  parents  of  the
husband in the first  floor  of  the  matrimonial  home.  Subsequently,  the
interim arrangement was recalled.  The interim arrangement did not work  and
the appeal filed by the respondent-wife was allowed on 13.08.2003.

6.    In the year 2003, respondent-wife filed a Matrimonial Suit  No.533  of
2003 before the District Judge Hooghly against the  appellant-husband  under
Section 10 of the Act for judicial separation.  According to the  appellant,
though he filed written objections denying allegations made against him,  he
could not attend the hearing and it is alleged that  he  was  manhandled  in
the court premises by some men of the respondent-wife.  Ex parte decree  for
judicial separation was ordered on 19.05.2006, as  a  consequence  of  which
decree for permanent alimony was also ordered under Section 25 of the  Hindu
Marriage Act to the respondent-wife amounting to Rs.2,500/-  per  month  and
          Rs. 2,000/- per month to the minor son.

7.     In  the  meanwhile,  the  appellant-husband  and  his  parents   were
acquitted of all the charges by the Additional District and Sessions  Judge,
2nd Fast Track Court, Serempore on 20.07.2006 in  the  case  filed  alleging
dowry harassment.  Being aggrieved by the order hereinabove, the respondent-
wife filed a revision petition being CRR No. 3087 of 2006  before  the  High
Court at Calcutta which came to be dismissed on 21.03.2011.

8.    The appellant-husband filed a divorce petition being Matrimonial  Suit
No.71 of 2007 which was renumbered as Suit  No.193  of  2010  under  Section
13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act for  dissolution  of  marriage.  In  the
said  divorce  petition,  the  respondent-wife  filed  an  application   for
permanent  alimony  under  Section  25  of  the  Act.   By  an  order  dated
19.05.2006, passed by the Additional District Judge, 1st Court,  Hooghly  in
Matrimonial Suit No.533 of 2003, enhanced the amount of maintenance  to  Rs.
8,000/- per month in F.A. No. 193 of 2008.
9.    On 10.10.2010, the respondent filed an  amendment  application  before
the Court being Misc. Case No.2 of 2010 in Matrimonial Suit No.533  of  2003
under Section 25(2) of  the  Act  praying  for  enhancement  of  maintenance
amounting to Rs.10,000/- per month for  herself  and  Rs.  6,000/-  for  her
minor son.  Vide order dated 10.10.2012, the said  application  was  allowed
and  maintenance  at  the  rate  of  Rs.6000/-  each  was  ordered  for  the
respondent and her minor son.

10.    Aggrieved  by  this  order,  respondent-wife  preferred  a   revision
petition under Article 227 of the Constitution  of  India  before  the  High
Court being C.O. No.4228 of 2012.   During  its  pendency,  the  Matrimonial
Suit No.193 of 2010 was decreed and the marriage between  the  parties  came
to be dissolved by the order of the  Additional  District  Judge,  1st  Fast
Track Court, Serampore on 30.11.2012.  Post-divorce,  the  appellant  herein
re-married and has a male child born out of the second wedlock.
11.   By an order dated 02.02.2015, the High Court  disposed  of  the  above
revision petition by  directing  the  appellant-husband  to  pay  a  sum  of
Rs.16,000/- towards the maintenance of the respondent-wife as  well  as  her
minor son.   Aggrieved  by  this  order,  the  respondent-wife  preferred  a
Special Leave Petition (C)  No.12968  of  2015  which  was  disposed  of  as
withdrawn with liberty  to  approach  the  High  Court  by  way  of  review.
Pursuant to the above order,  respondent-wife  filed  a  review  application
being RVW No.85 of 2016 arising out of CO  NO.4228  of  2012.  Upon  hearing
both the parties, by order dated 15.09.2016, the  learned  Single  Judge  of
the High Court modified the order under review and enhanced  the  amount  of
maintenance from Rs.16,000/- to Rs.23,000/- which is the subject  matter  of
challenge in this appeal.
12.   Learned counsel for the appellant Mr. Pijush K. Roy submitted that  in
exercise of review jurisdiction, the High Court ought not to  have  enhanced
the maintenance amount from Rs.16,000/-  to  Rs.23,000/-.   It  was  further
submitted that the appellant-husband is posted  at  Malda  Medical  College,
Malda, West Bengal and gets a net  salary  of  Rs.87,500/-   per  month  and
while so, the appellant would find it difficult to pay enhanced  maintenance
amount of  Rs.23,000/-  per  month  to  the  respondent-wife.   It  is  also
submitted that the respondent  is  a  qualified  beautician  and  Montessori
teacher and earns Rs.30,000/- per  month  and  the  son  has  also  attained
eighteen  years  of  age  and  hence  the  enhanced  maintenance  amount  of
Rs.23,000/- per month is on the higher side and  prayed  for  restoring  the
original order of Rs.16,000/- per month.
13.    Per  contra,  learned  counsel  for  the  respondent-wife         Ms.
Supriya Juneja submitted that the High Court on perusal of the pay slip  and
the expenditure of appellant-husband has arrived at the right conclusion  of
granting Rs.23,000/- as maintenance to the respondent. The  learned  counsel
has also further submitted that even though the son  has  attained  majority
and since the son is aged only eighteen years and is presently  studying  in
a college and for  meeting  the  expenses  of  higher  education  and  other
requirements, enhanced maintenance amount of  Rs.23,000/-  per  month  is  a
reasonable one and the impugned order warrants no interference.
14.   We have considered the rival  contentions  and  perused  the  impugned
judgment and other materials on record.
15.   Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act,  1955  confers  power  upon  the
court to grant a permanent alimony to either spouse who claims the  same  by
making an application.  Sub-section (2) of Section 25 of Hindu Marriage  Act
confers ample power on the court to vary, modify or discharge any order  for
permanent alimony or permanent maintenance that may have been  made  in  any
proceeding under the Act under the provisions contained in  sub-section  (1)
of Section 25.  In exercising the power under  Section  25  (2),  the  court
would have regard to the “change  in  the  circumstances  of  the  parties”.
There must be some change in the circumstances of  either  party  which  may
have to be taken into account when an application is made under  sub-section
(2) of Section 25 for variation, modification or rescission of the order  as
the court may deem just.
16.   The review petition under Order XLVII Rule 1 CPC came to be  filed  by
the respondent-wife pursuant to the liberty granted by this Court  when  the
earlier order dated 02.02.2015 awarding a maintenance of Rs.16,000/- to  the
respondent-wife as well as to her minor son was under challenge before  this
Court.  As pointed out by the High Court, in February 2015,  the  appellant-
husband  was  getting  a  net  salary  of  Rs.63,842/-  after  deduction  of
Rs.24,000/- on account  of  GPF  and  Rs.12,000/-  towards  income-tax.   In
February, 2016, the net salary of the appellant is stated to be  Rs.95,527/-
.  Following Dr. Kulbhushan Kumar vs. Raj Kumari and Anr. (1970) 3 SCC  129,
in this case, it was held that 25% of the  husband’s  net  salary  would  be
just and proper to be awarded as maintenance to  the  respondent-wife.   The
amount of permanent alimony awarded  to  the  wife  must  be  befitting  the
status of the parties and the capacity of the  spouse  to  pay  maintenance.
Maintenance is always dependant on the factual situation  of  the  case  and
the court would be justified in moulding the claim  for  maintenance  passed
on various factors.  Since in February, 2016, the net salary of the  husband
was Rs. 95,000/- per month, the High Court was justified  in  enhancing  the
maintenance amount.  However, since  the  appellant  has  also  got  married
second time and has a child from the second marriage,  in  the  interest  of
justice, we  think  it  proper  to  reduce  the  amount  of  maintenance  of
Rs.23,000/- to Rs.20,000/- per month as maintenance to  the  respondent-wife
and son.
17.   In the result, the maintenance amount of Rs.23,000/-  awarded  to  the
respondent-wife is  reduced  to  Rs.20,000/-  per  month  and  the  impugned
judgment is modified and this appeal is partly allowed. The  maintenance  of
Rs.20,000/- per month is payable to the respondent-wife on  or  before  10th
of every succeeding english calendar month.  No costs.

  ..….…...........……………………….J.
            [R. BANUMATHI]


          ……...............………………………..J.
                              [MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR]
New Delhi;
April 19, 2017
















ITEM NO.1A                 COURT NO.7               SECTION XVI
(For judgment)
               S U P R E M E  C O U R T  O F  I N D I A
                       RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

CIVIL APPEAL NO.5369/2017 @
Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (C) No(s).  34653/2016

(Arising out of impugned final judgment and order dated  15/09/2016 in CO
No. 4228/2012 15/09/2016 in RVW No. 85/2016 passed by the High Court Of
Calcutta)

KALYAN DEY CHOWDHURY                               Petitioner(s)

                                VERSUS

RITA DEY CHOWDHURY NEE NANDY                       Respondent(s)


Date : 19/04/2017 This matter was called on for pronouncement of judgment
today.


For Petitioner(s)    Mr. Rajan K. Chourasia,Adv.


For Respondent(s)    Mrs Sarla Chandra,Adv.

                     Ms.Supriya Juneja,Adv.

                        Ms. Mehaak Jaggi, Adv.


             Hon'ble Mrs. Justice R.  Banumathi  pronounced  the  reportable
judgment  of the Bench comprising  Her  Lordship  and  Hon'ble  Mr.  Justice
Mohan M. Shantanagoudar.

             Leave granted.

            The appeal is partly allowed.  The  maintenance  of  Rs.20,000/-
p.m.  is  payable  to  the  respondent-wife  on  or  before  10th  of  every
succeeding English Calendar Month.

             No costs.

              Application, if any, also stands disposed of.


          (USHA BHARDWAJ)                            (RENU DIWAN)
           AR-CUM-PS                               ASSISTANT REGISTRAR
      Signed reportable judgment is placed on the file.

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