Maintenance granted 30+ years after divorce! though husband remarried long ago!, MP HC

In India life long maintenance is the norm. There are so many cases where women have come back to claim the moollah after divorce. However this one takes the case, in that woman seeks maintenance approx 30 years after divorce  and wins that too !!

  • In addition to other objections, The husband’s counsel argues that “…submitted that divorce decree was passed on 21.09.1978 and for about 30 years no objection for maintenance was filed by the respondent and after lapse of 30 years, this petition has been filed on 05.01.2009, …”
  • However the honourable court opines that “…… So far as this objection as per provision of the Section 25 of Act 1955 “any court exercising jurisdiction under this Act may, at the time of passing any decree or at any time subsequent thereto” respondent has right to file application for permanent alimony and maintenance and there is no specific limitation provided for filing such petition under Section 25 of Act 1955. ….”
  • and “…it is admitted fact that in the year 2007, application for granting the maintenance under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C., 1973 has been filed by the respondent and in that application appellant was agreed to pay Rs.3,000/- per month as a maintenance to the respondent and at that time also no such objection was raised and after passing that order on 02.07.2008 immediately on 05.01.2009, this petition has been filed under Section 25 of Act 1955 therefore, this submission of the learned counsel for the appellant also having no force and is rejected….”
  • and the honourable court goes on to decide that “…So far as awarding the Rs.15,000/- per month as permanent alimony and maintenance, it is also not excessive or exorbitant looking to the status of the appellant as he was being posted and retired from Principal Secretary Water Resources Department, M.P. Government. He is earning more than Rs.43,000/- per month. He is having one house in Indore. His second wife is a Doctor and she is also in service and getting salary, ….”*****

    HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH: PRINCIPAL SEAT AT JABALPUR

    FIRST APPEAL No.168/2013

    SUNIL KUMAR VERMA

    Versus

    SMT. KAMALA BAI

    Present:
    Hon’ble Shri Justice Rajendra Menon

    Hon’ble Shri Justice Sushil Kumar Gupta

    Shri R.P. Agrawal, learned Senior Counsel with Shri Vivek Rusia, learned counsel for the appellant.

    Shri Shobhitaditya, learned counsel for the respondent.

    Whether approved for reporting- Yes

    JUDGMENT

    ( 17/07/2015)

    Per: Sushil Kumar Gupta, J.

  1. This appeal under Section 28 of The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (in short ‘Act 1955’) arises out of the judgment and decree passed by the IInd Additional Principal Judge of Family Court, Bhopal in RCS No.599-A/2008, whereby the appellant has been directed to pay amount of Rs.15,000/- per month as maintenance to the respondent.
  2. It is undisputed fact that the appellant got married with respondent before 55 years. It is also undisputed that appellant was retired from the post of Principal Secretary Water Resources Department. It is also undisputed that appellant and respondent lived as husband-wife about 20 years and out of their wedlock respondent blessed with two daughters. It is also undisputed that appellant filed a Civil Suit No.35-A/1978 for divorce under Section 13 of Act 1955 against respondent and vide order dated 21.08.1978, Court of Additional District Judge, Bhopal has granted the decree of divorce in favour of appellant. It is also undisputed that appellant got re-married with Dr. Indra Sharma. It is also undisputed that both the parties are living separately. It is also undisputed that in favour of the respondent Chief Judicial Magistrate has granted maintenance Rs.3,000/- per month. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; http://fromvinayak.blogspot.com
  3. Apart from the aforesaid undisputed facts the brief facts of the case are that respondent has filed an application under Section 25 of Act 1955 before the Family Court Bhopal claiming maintenance of Rs.3.00 lacs per year from the appellant on the ground that appellant is a man of crores and he has got Rs.26,000/- per month from the pension and he has also possessed 90-92 bighas agriculture land by which he is earning 10-15 lacs per-annum. It is also pleaded that appellant also having a big house in Indore by which he is earning Rs.35,000/- per month as a rent. It is also stated that appellant also lend the money on interest. It is also stated that appellant is having many luxury vehicles and his second wife is in service. It is also stated that respondent is receiving only Rs.3,000/- per month which is not sufficient for her maintenance. She is not having any means for earning therefore she prays for grant of Rs.3 lacs per year as a maintenance.
  4. Besides the admissions as aforesaid in P. No.2, appellant, in reply, refuted the pleadings of the respondent and pleaded that with malafide intention, within a year, the respondent has filed this application under Section 25 of Act 1955. Appellant also stated that with the consent of both parties he is already paying maintenance of Rs.3,000/- to the respondent by virtue of order dated 20.07.2007 passed by the competent Court. It is also stated by the appellant that at the time of divorce respondent was given 8.2 Hectare (32 Bigha) agriculture land from the ancestral property of appellant and by way of cultivation she is already earning Rs.3.00 lacs per year. It is also stated that he is getting only Rs.20,000/- as a pension and Rs.11,000/- as a rental income. Accordingly, on these grounds he prayed for dismissal of the petition.
  5. In support of her application respondent, besides herself, examined Lalit Sustani (PW-2) and Smt. Pramila Singh (PW-3) and in defence the appellant examined himself.
  6. After appreciating and marshaling of evidence, learned trial Court allowed the petition of the respondent and passed the impugned order as stated in para No.1.
  7. Learned counsel for the appellant challenging the impugned judgment and decree on the ground that learned Family Court has committed jurisdictional error while entertaining the application under Section 25 of Act 1955. That the respondent is residing in Gram Sustani Pargana District- Rajgarh and deliberately described herself resident of Bhopal and filed the application before the Family Court at Bhopal. Neither the appellant nor the respondent are residing at Bhopal therefore, the Family Court Bhopal has no territorial jurisdiction to decide the petition. It is further submitted that the respondent is already getting maintenance of Rs.3,000/- per month from the appellant in compliance of consent order passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Rajgarh and in compliance of that order, appellant is already paying maintenance of Rs.3,000/- per month to the respondent. It is also submitted that learned trial Court did not consider this fact that respondent is already owner of agriculture land measuring 8.2 Hectare in Gram Sustani and earning Rs.3.00 lacs per year by way of cultivation. It is also submitted that appellant is a retired Government Servant and he is getting Rs.32,000/- per month by way of pension which is also insufficient for himself. It is further submitted that learned Family Court has directed to pay Rs.15,000/- per month out of Rs.32,000/- which is highly excessive and disproportionate earning of appellant.
  8. Per contra, learned counsel for the respondent opposes the submissions advanced by the learned counsel for the appellant and submitted that impugned order passed by the learned trial Court are based on proper appreciation and marshaling of evidence and does not require any interference and he prayed for dismissal of appeal.
  9. Having heard and considered the arguments advanced by the learned counsel for the parties and perused the entire record minutely.
  10. Before coming to the factual aspect of this case, we would like to reproduce the relevant provision of Act 1955.
    • “25. Permanent alimony and maintenance.:-
      • (1) Any Court exercising jurisdiction under this Act may, at the time of passing any decree or at any time subsequent thereto, on application made to it for the purpose by either the wife or the husband, as the case for her or his maintenance and support such gross sum or such monthly or periodical sum for a term not exceeding the life of the applicant as, having regard to the respondent’s own income and other property, if any, the income and other property of the applicant [the conduct of the parties and other circumstances of the case] it may seem to the Court to be just, and any such payment may be secured, if necessary, by a charge on the immovable property of the respondent.
      • (2) ***********
      • (3) *********** ” 
    • [19. Court to which petition shall be presented.–
      • Every petition under this Act shall be presented to the District Court within the local limits of whose ordinary original civil jurisdiction–
      • (i) the marriage was solemnized, or
      • (ii) the respondent, at the time of the presentation of the petition, resides, or 
      • (iii) the parties to the marriage last resided together, or
      • [(iii-a) in case the wife, is the petitioner, where she is residing on the date of presentation of the petition, or] 
      • (iv) the petitioner is residing at the time of the presentation of the petition, in a case where the respondent is, at that time, residing outside the territories to which this Act extends, or has not been heard of as being alive for a period of seven years or more by those persons who would naturally have heard of him if he were alive.]
  11. The first contention raised by the learned counsel, appearing for the appellant, is that learned Family Court has committed jurisdictional error while entertaining the application under Section 25 of Act 1955. He submitted that respondent is residing in Gram Sustani, District-Rajgarh and this petition has been filed in Bhopal describing herself resident of 25, Betwa Apartment, Bhopal. He further submitted that neither the appellant nor the respondent are residing at Bhopal therefore, Family Court Bhopal have no territorial jurisdiction to decide the petition.
  12. So far as the territorial jurisdiction of Family Court Bhopal entertaining application under Section 25 of Act 1955 of the respondent. Firstly it is pertinent to mention here that no such objection was taken by the appellant, before the lower Court, in his written statement. In reply appellant has not raised any objection that respondent is not living on the given address 25, Betwa Apartment, Bhopal. In para No.12 of petition respondent specifically pleaded about jurisdiction of Family Court Bhopal and stated that appellant has got decree of divorce from Ist Additional District & Sessions Judge, Bhopal in Civil Suit No.35-A/1978 by dated 21.08.1978 therefore, this Court has territorial jurisdiction to here this petition but in reply of this para No.12 no objection has been raised by the appellant about territorial jurisdiction and this objection has been raised first time in appeal before this Court.
  13. Despite this fact that this objection has been raised first time in this Court, even though keeping in view the provisions of Section 25 of Act 1955, Family Court Bhopal has territorial jurisdiction to hear the petition of respondent under Section 25 of Act 1955.
  14. Section 25 of Act 1955 clearly provided that “any Court exercising jurisdiction under this Act, at the time of passing any decree or at any time subsequent thereto” that clearly shows that Family Court Bhopal having territorial jurisdiction to entertain the petition under Section 25 of Act 1955 because appellant has filed divorce petition against respondent before the Ist Additional Sessions Judge, Bhopal showing her address at Bhopal and decree of divorce has been granted in his favour and at that time no order was passed in favour of respondent for permanent alimony and maintenance, therefore, keeping in view the provision under Section 25 of Act 1955 where under Section 13 of Act 1955 that petition has been filed in Bhopal Court therefore, respondent has every right and having jurisdiction to file petition under Section 25 of Act 1955 at Bhopal. Therefore, Bhopal Court has jurisdiction to entertain the petition of the respondent. Therefore the objection raised by the learned counsel for the appellant about the territorial jurisdiction has no substance.
  15. The second contention made by the learned counsel, appearing for the appellant, is that there is huge delay in filing the present petition under Section 25 of Act 1955 therefore, is not maintainable. He further submitted that divorce decree was passed on 21.09.1978 and for about 30 years no objection for maintenance was filed by the respondent and after lapse of 30 years, this petition has been filed on 05.01.2009, therefore is not maintainable.
  16. So far as this objection as per provision of the Section 25 of Act 1955 “any court exercising jurisdiction under this Act may, at the time of passing any decree or at any time subsequent thereto” respondent has right to file application for permanent alimony and maintenance and there is no specific limitation provided for filing such petition under Section 25 of Act 1955. So far as the delay in filing of this petition it is admitted fact that in the year 2007, application for granting the maintenance under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C., 1973 has been filed by the respondent and in that application appellant was agreed to pay Rs.3,000/- per month as a maintenance to the respondent and at that time also no such objection was raised and after passing that order on 02.07.2008 immediately on 05.01.2009, this petition has been filed under Section 25 of Act 1955 therefore, this submission of the learned counsel for the appellant also having no force and is rejected.
  17. The third contention made by the learned counsel for the appellant is that no positive evidence is produced by respondent to show the income of appellant. He further submitted that at present appellant is getting only Rs.32,000/- monthly as a pension, Rs.7,500/- per month as a rent of Indore house and Rs.2,900/- per month out of the earning of agriculture and out of which he has to pay income tax expenditure, agriculture operation and maintenance of house of Indore. In the addition, learned counsel for the appellant also submitted that in such a way appellant’s monthly income comes to 22 to 26 thousands but learned trial Court wrongly recorded the finding in para No.16 of the judgment is Rs.43,000/- per month. This finding is based on misreading of evidence and liable to be set aside. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; http://fromvinayak.blogspot.com
  18. Appellant Sunil Kumar Verma (non-appellant No.1) admitted in para No.16 of cross-examination that he is having 18 hectare (about 72 Bigha) of agriculture land. In para No.21 of the cross-examination he again admitted that he is getting Rs.11,000/- rental income from his house. He has also admitted in para No.10 that he is getting Rs.32,000/- as a pension therefore, it indicates that appellant getting Rs.32,000/- pension, Rs.11,000/- per month rental income total income is Rs.43,000/- per month. Though appellant stated in para No.10 of his examination-in-chief that he is having 3.5 bigha agriculture land by which he is getting Rs.35,000/- per year agriculture income but keeping in view the admission in para no.16 of the cross- examination of the appellant he is having 18 hectare (about 72 bigha) agriculture land, certainly he is earning lacs of the rupees from the agriculture land, therefore, it is amply proved by the evidence of the appellant that he is having income more than Rs.50,000/- per month and learned trial Court has not committed any error in giving the finding that appellant is earning Rs.43,000/- per month. Therefore, it is found proved that appellant is having sufficient means to pay the permanent alimony and maintenance to the respondent.
  19. So far as the another contention has been raised by the appellant that the respondent having sufficient means to maintain herself, therefore she is no entitled for any maintenance.
  20. So far as this submission made by learned counsel for the appellant, it is not required for the respondent to prove this fact that she is unable to maintain herself Under Section 25 of Act 1955, it is not requirement of the law in aforesaid provisions that if the wife having sufficient means and able to maintain herself, she cannot get the permanent alimony and maintenance.
  21. Relevant part of the provisions of Section 25 of Act 1955 and provisions of Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in short ‘Code 1973’) have some difference and reads as under:-
    • “Section 25. Permanent alimony and maintenance:-
      • (1) Any court exercising jurisdiction under this Act may, at the time of passing any decree or at any time subsequent thereto…..
      • (2) *********
      • (3) *********
    • Section 125. Order for maintenance of wives, children and parents :-
      • (1) If any person having sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain-
      • (a) his wife, unable to maintain herself, or
      • (b) *********
      • (c) *********
      • (d) ********* .”
  22. However, under Section 25 of Act 1955 order for permanent alimony and maintenance is passed while exercising jurisdiction under Act, 1955 at the time of passing any decree or at any time subsequent thereto, but under Section 125 of the Code 1973 an application for maintenance can be filed independently at any time when a person having sufficient means neglects are refuses to maintain, his wife “unable to maintain herself” thereby means if wife able to maintain herself is not entitled for maintenance under Section 125 of the Code 1973, but under Section 25 of Act 1955 there is no such requirement of law.
  23. So far as awarding the Rs.15,000/- per month as permanent alimony and maintenance, it is also not excessive or exorbitant looking to the status of the appellant as he was being posted and retired from Principal Secretary Water Resources Department, M.P. Government. He is earning more than Rs.43,000/- per month. He is having one house in Indore. His second wife is a Doctor and she is also in service and getting salary, therefore appellant having no liability and responsibility.
  24. Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Vinny Parmvir Parmar Vs. Parmvir Parmar (2011) 13 SCC 112 that “As per Section 25, while considering the claim for permanent alimony and maintenance of either spouse, the respondent’s own income and other property, and the income and other property of the applicant are all relevant material in addition to the conduct of the parties and other circumstances of the case. It is further seen that the court considering such claim has to consider all the above relevant materials and determine the amount which is to be just for living standard. No fixed formula can be laid for fixing the amount of maintenance. It has to be in nature of things which depend on various facts and circumstances of each case. The court has to consider the status of the parties, their respective needs, the capacity of the husband to pay, having regard to reasonable expenses for his own maintenance and others whom he is obliged to maintain under the law and statute. The courts also have to take note of the fact that the amount of maintenance fixed for the wife should be such as she can live in reasonable comfort considering her status and mode of life she was used to live when she lived with her husband.”
  25. On the aforesaid discussion, we are of the considered opinion that learned trial Court has not committed any error in passing the decree of permanent alimony and maintenance against the appellant, therefore, we are not inclined to interfere in the impugned order passed by the learned Family Court, hence this appeal sans merit and liable to be dismissed, therefore, this appeal is hereby dismissed.

There is no order as to costs.

(Rajendra Menon)                 (Sushil Kumar Gupta)
Judge                                    Judge

Ajay/-

*****************************disclaimer**********************************
This judgment and other similar judgments posted on this blog was / were collected from Judis nic in website and / or other websites of Govt. of India or other internet web sites like worldlii or indiankanoon or High court websites. Some notes are made by Vinayak. Should you find the dictum in this judgment or the judgment itself repealed or amended or would like to make improvements or comments, please post a comment on the comment section of the blog and if you are reading this on tumblr please post responses as comments at vinayak.wordpress.com . Vinayak is NOT a lawyer and nothing in this blog and/or site and/or file should be considered as legal advise.


CASE FROM JUDIS / INDIAN KANOON WEB SITE with necessary Emphasis, Re formatting
*******************************************************************************

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s