Object Of Maintenance Proceedings Isn't To Punish Husband For His Past Neglect But To Prevent Destitution Of Deserted Wife: Allahabad HC
The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday set aside an order of the Family Court rejecting the application of one Bitola (revisionist/wife) seeking maintenance from her Husband on the ground that she is staying away from her husband without any sufficient reason.
The bench of Justice Raj Beer Singh observed that the Family Court conducted the proceedings without being alive to the objects and reasons and the spirit of the provisions under Section 125 of CrPC and disregarded the basic canon of law that it is the sacrosanct duty of the husband to provide financial support to the wife, who is unable to maintain herself.
"The object of maintenance proceedings is not to punish a person for his past neglect, but to prevent vagrancy and destitution of a deserted wife, by providing her food, clothing, and shelter by a speedy remedy," the Court added as it remitted the matter back to the Family Court concerned to consider and pass an order afresh in accordance with the law.
The Court was essentially dealing with the revision plea filed by challenging the judgment and order passed by the Additional Principal Judge, Family Court, Fatehpur, whereby the application of revisionist under Section 125 CrPC for maintenance was rejected on the ground that she is residing separately from her husband.
Before the High Court, the counsel for the revisionist submitted that the revisionist is the wife of the opposite party No.2 and their marriage has taken place in the year 2013 but after marriage, she was harassed by her husband and his family members which forced her to leave her matrimonial home in 2014.
It was further submitted that there is sufficient evidence to show that the revisionist has a sufficient cause and reasons to live separately but her evidence has not been considered by the court below in the correct perspective.
Considering the averments of the counsel for the revisionist, the Court noted that the object of the grant of maintenance is to afford a subsistence allowance to the wife who is not able to maintain herself and that it provides a speedy remedy for the supply of food, clothing, and shelter to the deserted wife.
The Court also stressed that maintenance awarded to a wife is not a bounty and that it is awarded to her so that she can survive.
Referring to the Supreme Court's judgments in the cases of Kirtikant D. Vadodaria vs. State of Gujarat, (1996) 4 SCC 479 and Chaturbhuj vs. Sita Bai (2008) 2 SCC 316, the High Court observed that Section 125 CrPC is in the form of a measure of social justice, especially enacted to protect women and children, and it thereby fell within the constitutional sweep of Article 15(3) reinforced by Article 39 of the Constitution of India.
"Therefore, while adjudicating a matter pertaining to this provision, it must be borne in mind that the dominant object of Section 125 is to prevent destitution and vagrancy by compelling those individuals, who have the means as well as the moral obligation, to support those who are unable to support themselves," the Court remarked.
Against this backdrop, evaluating the case of the revisionist, the Court noted that on material aspects of the case, there is no material contradiction in her statement before the Court, though the family court disbelieved her evidence.
In view of this, the Court stressed that proceedings under section 125 CrPC are of a summary nature, and in such matters, evidence of claimant/wife seeking maintenance should not be appreciated in a manner like in criminal trial for offences under the Indian Penal Code or other substantial criminal offences.
Consequently, the Court found that the family court had committed an error by disbelieving the evidence of the revisionist to the effect that she was harassed by the opposite party No. 2 on account of dowry and that due to ill-treatment meted out to her, she was compelled to reside at her parental home.
Further, considering the facts and evidence of the parties, vis-a-vis, the aforesaid legal position, the Court held that the Family Court committed an error by rejecting the application of the revisionist on the ground that she is staying away from her husband without any sufficient reason and hence, the order of the court below was set aside.
Counsel for Revisionist: Ravindra Kumar
Counsel for Opposite Party: G.A., Pradeep Kumar
Case title - Bitola @ Rinku vs. State Of U.P. And Another [CRIMINAL REVISION No. - 811 of 2022]
Case Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (AB) 53
Click Here To Read/Download Order