13 Sep 2023 12:50 PM GMT
The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday observed that an interim maintenance of Rs 4,000 per month, awarded by the magistrate in favour of a wife and her two daughters, would simply not be enough for their sustenance. A single-bench of Justice Shampa (Dutt) Paul was seized of a revision application against the order of a magistrate rejecting the wife/petitioners prayer for enhancement of...
The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday observed that an interim maintenance of Rs 4,000 per month, awarded by the magistrate in favour of a wife and her two daughters, would simply not be enough for their sustenance.
A single-bench of Justice Shampa (Dutt) Paul was seized of a revision application against the order of a magistrate rejecting the wife/petitioners prayer for enhancement of interim maintenance u/s 127 CrPC as ‘premature’ due to the pendency of their application for maintenance u/s 125 CrPC.
While refusing to interfere with the magistrate’s order, the Bench directed the trial court to dispose of the 125 CrPC application within a period of three months, and held:
It was in no way logical to grant such a low amount as interim maintenance for 3 persons and leave the balance for the husband. Of course at the time of final disposal of the case, all factors have to be taken into consideration by the learned Magistrate, but an amount of Rs. 4000/- for three persons is just not reasonable. But the order under challenge in this revision is where the learned Magistrate rejected the prayer under section 127 Cr.P.C. on the ground of it being premature, as the Case under section 125 Cr.P.C. was still pending final disposal. The order under revision thus does not require the interference of this Court but taking into consideration all factors, the trial Court is to make all endeavour to dispose of the Misc. Case finally, keeping with the guidelines of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Rajnesh vs Neha & Anr. (2021) 2 SCC 32, within three months.
Petitioners argued that the Magistrate had made an order for interim maintenance, granting the wife Rs 2,000 and Rs 1,000 each to the daughters, equalling Rs 4,000 to the family of three.
It was argued that the petitioner’s application filed under Section 127 CrPC for enhancement of maintenance awarded under Section 125 CrPC had been rejected by the magistrate on the grounds that the application was “premature” since the order of maintenance was interim and the 125 CrPC case had yet not been disposed of.
Petitioner argued that the interim maintenance awarded, upon hearing both parties, was inordinately low, and that it was inappropriate for the petitioner to maintain herself and her two daughters with such a meagre sum.
Petitioner contended that she was a housewife, and was married to her husband in 2013. Thereafter, upon the birth of her first daughter, petitioner claimed that her husband, his sister and their house help would physically and mentally torture her due to giving birth to a girl child, which led to her leaving her matrimonial home in 2017.
Thereafter the petitioner filed an application for maintenance under s.125 CrPC as Misc. Case No 192 of 2018 before the jurisdictional magistrate.
It was argued that the husband was a government employee being an Upper Division Assistant at Writers Building, Kolkata in the Department of Agriculture, and that while his actual income was Rs, 34,000 he had wrongfully submitted before the trial court that he was earning Rs 20,414, which was accepted by the court in granting the order of interim maintenance.
Petitioner’s counsel argued that the object of maintenance was 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.
It was therefore argued that the trial judge had erroneously rejected the application for enhancement of monthly maintenance u/s 127 CrPC as premature.
Counsel for the husband/opposite party no 1 argued that the order under revision was good in law and as such the revision application ought to be dismissed.
In observing that the petitioner’s husband was indeed earning Rs 34,000 as salary, proof of which the petitioner was unable to produce before the Magistrate, the Court noted that such a low sum granted as interim maintenance was “not logical.”
However, while declining to interfere with the order under revision, the Court directed the Magistrate to dispose of the 125 CrPC application along the lines of the Supreme Court’s decision in Rajnesh v Neha (2020) within a period of three months from date.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 280
Case: Smt. Meghna Nandi (Maiti) Vs. Sri Asit Nandi & Anr.
Case No: CRR 274 of 2020
Click Here To Read/Download Order