22 Jun 2023 9:41 AM GMT
The Allahabad High Court has observed that a second application seeking maintenance under Section 125 of CrPC can sustain, after the rejection of the first application, if there are changes in the circumstances, entitling a person to be a claimant under the said provision. Stressing that the liability to maintain under section 125 CrPC is a continuing one, the bench of Justice...
The Allahabad High Court has observed that a second application seeking maintenance under Section 125 of CrPC can sustain, after the rejection of the first application, if there are changes in the circumstances, entitling a person to be a claimant under the said provision.
Stressing that the liability to maintain under section 125 CrPC is a continuing one, the bench of Justice Jyotsna Sharma was of the view that if the right to file an application for maintenance is foreclosed, it shall frustrate the very purpose of section 125 CrPC.
The Bench added that there may be some instances where a person, who for the time being, is able to maintain himself or herself, but thereafter, loses her/his resources because of changed circumstances, in such cases, a fresh right to claim maintenance may accrue.
Importantly, the Court also observed that since the procedure which is adopted in such cases is a summary one, the principle of res judicata will have no effect on such proceedings.
The Court observed thus while upholding the January 2004 order of the court (Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, North-East Railway, Banda) allowing the second application filed by a lady (respondent no. 2) under Section 125 CrPC.
The case in brief
Essentially, respondent no. 2 (wife) filed an application under Section 125 CrPC claiming maintenance from her husband (petitioner before the HC), which was dismissed in January 1995 on certain grounds.
Thereafter, in 2003, she moved a second application under Section 125 CrPC on the premise that there has been a change in circumstances- remarriage by the husband, therefore, she is entitled to claim maintenance from her husband.
This second application was allowed by the Court of ACJM-Banda in January 2004 directing her husband (petitioner) to pay Rs. 1,500/- per month to her. The husband challenged the order in a criminal revision plea, which was also dismissed by Additional District Judge Banda.
Now challenging the order passed by the trial court and the revisional court, he moved to the HC.
The main crux of the argument of the petitioner was that his wife never challenged the order by which her first application filed under Section 125 CrPC was rejected, and therefore, the order passed became final and hence, the matter cannot be agitated again in the second plea as the entire proceeding subsequently initiated by her is barred by the principle of constructive res-judicata.
High Court’s observations
At the outset, the Court noted that the solemn aim of the proceedings under Section 125 CrPC is to prevent vagrancy and destitution and that this provision seeks to grant quick relief to the members of the society.
The Court further rejected the argument of the counsel for the petitioner that the second application of the wife would be barred by the principle of res judicata.
Regarding the claim of the wife pertaining to a change in circumstances (remarriage by the husband) prompting her to file a second application, the Court noted that though the petitioner has objected to the fact of remarriage, however, in the exercise of writ jurisdiction, the Court can not to go into the disputed questions of fact.
Further, noting that the liability to maintain under section 125 CrPC. is continuing one, the Court observed thus:
“In my view, when there is a change in circumstances entitling a person to be a claimant as per provisions of section- 125 CrPC, he or she can very well apply for maintenance. If such an option is foreclosed, it shall frustrate the very purpose of section- 125 Cr.C.”
Consequently, the Court refused to interfere in the order of the trial court or of the revisional court in the exercise of writ jurisdiction of this court.
In related news, last year, the Delhi High Court observed that whenever a party claims a change in circumstance after an order granting maintenance has been passed under Section 125 CrPC, the appropriate recourse would be seeking relief under Section 127 of the Code, not filing a fresh petition under Section 125 of the Code.
Laying emphasis on the doctrine of res judicata, the bench observed that the said principle has been evolved to prevent multiplicity of litigation regarding the same issues and puts an end to a finally adjudicated issue ensuring finality in litigation.
"This Court notes that a petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C. will be covered by the principle of res judicata due to its universal applicability, as proceedings under Section 125 Cr.P.C. are Quasi- Criminal in nature. Once the petition has been adjudicated under Section 125 Cr.P.C. favourably by a Court of competent jurisdiction on merits, a subsequent petition cannot be preferred which arises from the same dispute having similar situations, circumstances and grounds as the previously adjudicated issues in the earlier petition filed under Section 125 Cr.P.C."
Counsel for Petitioner: Satish Kumar Mishra
Counsel for Respondent: Govt. Advocate,Shyam Sunder Mishra
Case title - Shyam Bahadur Singh vs. State of U.P. and Another 2023 LiveLaw (AB) 199 [CRIMINAL MISC. WRIT PETITION No. - 22529 of 2008]
Case Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (AB) 199
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