20 Jan 2021 5:39 AM GMT
The Allahabad High Court has held that while claiming maintenance under Section 125 of CrPC, a party need not furnish strict proof of performance of essential rites of marriage. A Single Bench of Justice Raj Beer Singh has held that if from the evidence which is led, the Magistrate/ court is prima facie satisfied with regard to the performance of marriage in proceedings under Section...
The Allahabad High Court has held that while claiming maintenance under Section 125 of CrPC, a party need not furnish strict proof of performance of essential rites of marriage.
A Single Bench of Justice Raj Beer Singh has held that if from the evidence which is led, the Magistrate/ court is prima facie satisfied with regard to the performance of marriage in proceedings under Section 125 CrPC, which are of summary nature, strict proof of performance of essential rites is not required.
"It is well settled that for the purposes of a proceeding under Section 125 Cr.P.C., the factum of marriage has to be prima facie considered. If there is prima facie material on record to suggest that the parties have married or are having relationship in the nature of marriage, the court can presume in favour of the woman claiming maintenance," the order stated.
Reference was made to a judgment rendered by the Supreme Court in 1999 in Dwarika Prasad Satpathy vs. Bidyut Prava Dixit & Anr., AIR 1999 SC 3348, where it has been observed that the standard of proof of marriage in a Section 125 proceeding is not as strict as is required in a trial for an offence under Section 494 IPC (Bigamy).
Strict Proof Of Marriage Not Needed For 'Maintenance' Proceedings Under Sec. 125 CrPC, Reiterates SC
The reason for the aforesaid finding, the Bench explained, is that an order passed in an application under Section 125 does not determine the rights and obligations of the parties.
The High Court observed that the provision was enacted with a view to provide a summary remedy to neglected wives to obtain maintenance.
"Since the provision under Section 125 Cr.P.C. is a measure of social justice and has been enacted to protect women, children or parents and the materials on record suggest two views, then the view in favour of women should be adopted," Justice Raj Beer observed.
Reliance was placed on Ramesh Chander Kaushal v. Veena Kaushal & Ors., AIR 1978 SC 1807.
Inter alia, the Bench clarified that either of the parties aggrieved by the order of maintenance under Section 125 CrPC, can approach the civil court for declaration of status of their marriage (as the order passed under Section 125 does not finally determine their rights and obligations).
"The nature of proof of marriage required for a proceeding under Section 125 Cr.P.C. need not be so strong or conclusive as in a criminal proceeding for an offence under Section 494 IPC, since, the jurisdiction of the Magistrate under Section 125 Cr.P.C. being preventive in nature, the Magistrate cannot usurp the jurisdiction in matrimonial dispute possessed by the Civil Court. The object of the Section being to afford a swift remedy, and the determination by the Magistrate as to the status of the parties being subject to a final determination by the Civil Court, when the husband denies that the applicant is not his wife, all that the Magistrate has to find, in a proceeding under Section 125 Cr.P.C., is whether there was some marriage ceremony between the parties, whether they have lived as husband and wife in the eyes of their neighbours, whether children were born from the union."
Thus, a decision under Section 125 CrPC is tentative in nature, subject to the decision in any civil proceeding (Santosh v. Naresh Pal, (1998) 8 SCC 447).
The instant case was a revision, preferred by one Irshad Ali against the order of the Family Court directing him to pay monthly maintenance to his wife.
The revisionist had argued that the impugned order is beyond jurisdiction of the Court, inasmuch as the opposite party is not his legally wedded wife and thus, proceedings under Section 125 CrPC are not maintainable.
It was submitted that at the time of alleged marriage, the revisionist was a minor, aged about 14 years, and thus, he was not competent to enter into contract of marriage. It was also stated that the nikahnama filed by his alleged wife did not bear his signature and that the said document was forged.
He contended that the Family Court did not examine the material placed on record properly, and urged the High Court to re-examine the documents in consultation with an expert.
The High Court upheld the order of the Family Court inter alia stating,
"After considering averments and evidence of parties, it is apparent that court below has considered entire relevant facts and evidence and that findings of the court below are based on evidence. No illegality, perversity or error of jurisdiction could be shown in the impugned order. The quantum of maintenance awarded by the court below can also not be said excessive or arbitrary."
The Bench also refused to re-evaluate the material evidence in revision jurisdiction and observed,
"The revisional jurisdiction can be invoked where the decisions under challenge are grossly erroneous, there is no compliance with the provisions of law, the finding recorded is based on no evidence, material evidence is ignored or judicial discretion is exercised arbitrarily or perversely. The Court has to keep in mind that the exercise of revisional jurisdiction itself should not lead to injustice ex facie. In the instant case no such contingency could be shown so as to call any interference by this court in revisional jurisdiction."
Case Title: Irshad Ali v. State of UP & Anr.
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