The Rajasthan High Court has observed that a lady suffering from cruelty on account of her husband's conduct cannot be said to have deserted him or to be voluntarily residing away. The court added that the circumstances created by the husband, if not conducive, are bound to push away the wife.
Essentially, the case of the petitioner-wife is that respondent-husband is working on the post of Branch Manager in Bank of Baroda and is earning income of Rs.90,000/- per month. She submitted that the trial court has denied the monthly maintenance to her only on the ground that the divorce has been allowed between the parties. As per her, the divorce was ex-parte claimed by the respondent.
Relying on the proviso to Section 125(1) CrPC, the petitioner's counsel argued that the explanation, as per which, the definition of "wife" includes a woman who has been divorced by, or has obtained a divorce from, her husband and has not remarried. The counsel submitted that once the petitioner-wife has not remarried, is entitled for maintenance and any divorce petition cannot be construed as it was a voluntary desertion of the parties. It was also submitted that since there was an established cruelty, therefore, the marriage derailed, but that does not mean that the respondent-husband can be absolved from the liability of maintenance.
Through the present criminal revision petition, the petitioner-wife has sought an amount of Rs. 30,000/- per month from the date of filing of the application from the respondent-husband.
Dr. Justice Pushpendra Singh Bhati, while allowing the present revision petition and quashing the Family court's order, observed,
"This Court, after hearing learned counsel for the parties as well as perusing the record of the case, finds that the learned court below has come out with a judgment without considering the definition of wife provided under Section 125(1) Cr.P.C. The learned court below has gravely erred in denying the maintenance on the ground of divorce and cruelty. The maintenance is one thing, which has to be granted and a lady suffering cruelty, cannot be said to have deserted or voluntarily residing away. The circumstances created by the husband, if not conducive, are bound to push away the wife."
The court directed that the petitioner-wife shall be entitled to receive the maintenance to a sum of Rs.10,000/- per month from the respondent-husband from the date of filing the petition. Further, the court clarified that any interim maintenance granted shall be excluded from the amount so due.
Adv. Kan Singh Oad appeared for the petitioner while Adv. Kaushal Gautam with Adv. Kunal Kalla appeared for the respondent.
Case Title: Richa Dharu v. Hemant Panwar
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Raj) 187