Tag Archives: supreme court

‘Mom forced me to frame papa on rape charge’ – Times of India

Mom forced me to frame papa on rape charge’

NEW DELHI: Fact can, indeed, turn out to be stranger than fiction. Check out this real-life story.

A man was sentenced to five years’ rigorous imprisonment by a lower court for raping his daughter. The high court found holes in the prosecution story and acquitted him.

The case moved to the Supreme Court and the apex court said such a crime couldn’t go unpunished, awarding the accused a life term.

And now the daughter, on whose complaint the father is in prison, has confessed in a sworn affidavit that her dad was innocent.

She said she had framed him at the instance of her mother whose relationship with her father was strained. This bizarre casesenior lawyers say they’ve not heard of a more weird twist to a casehas raised several questions.

What happens to the punishment given by the SC now that its very basis has been dissolved? Will the daughter and the mother now be punished for misleading the court and tormenting the man?

How common is abuse of the law in shocking cases like rape and dowry? How rigorous is police investigation into such complaints? The story is that of Asha Ram, about whose alleged crime an anguished Supreme Court had expressed outrage, saying he had destroyed “one of the most sacred relations”.

Only last week it had awarded him a life term, setting aside a Himachal Pradesh high court judgment which had disbelieved the prosecution story and had acquitted him.

Wife may get away lightly

In the West, perjury, that is, lying on oath before a court, is considered a serious crime. Millionaire author Jeffrey Archer was punished with a jail term of one year and a fine of 1,75,000 pounds in the UK.

But it is doubtful if Asha Ram’s wife, accused by her own daughter in an affidavit of forcing her to level rape charges against her father, will face as stiff a penalty as Archer, because in India the punishment is not severe.
— Read on m.timesofindia.com/india/Mom-forced-me-to-frame-papa-on-rape-charge/amp_articleshow/1307752.cms

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When HC shall NOT quash a criminal case Parbatbhai Aahir Vs State of Gujarat – Supreme court – cornerstone case

when NOT to quash a criminal case … Parbatbhai Aahir Vs State of Gujarat – Supreme court – cornerstone case

“…… (iii) In forming an opinion whether a criminal proceeding or complaint should be quashed in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482, the High Court must evaluate whether the ends of justice would justify the exercise of the inherent power;

(iv) While the inherent power of the High Court has a wide ambit and plenitude it has to be exercised; (i) to secure the ends of justice or (ii) to prevent an abuse of the process of any court;

(v) The decision as to whether a complaint or First Information Report should be quashed on the ground that the offender and victim have settled the dispute, revolves ultimately on the facts and circumstances of each case and no exhaustive elaboration of principles can be formulated;

(vi) In the exercise of the power under Section 482 and while dealing with a plea that the dispute has been settled, the High Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the offence. Heinous and serious offences involving mental depravity or offences such as murder, rape and dacoity cannot appropriately be quashed though the victim or the family of the victim have settled the dispute. Such offences are, truly speaking, not private in nature but have a serious impact upon society. The decision to continue with the trial in such cases is founded on the overriding element of public interest in punishing persons for serious offences;

(vii) As distinguished from serious offences, there may be criminal cases which have an overwhelming or predominant element of a civil dispute. They stand on a distinct footing in so far as the exercise of the inherent power to quash is concerned;

(viii) Criminal cases involving offences which arise from commercial, financial, mercantile, partnership or similar transactions with an essentially civil flavour may in appropriate situations fall for quashing where parties have settled the dispute; https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick/status/1011037375793856512

(ix) In such a case, the High Court may quash the criminal proceeding if in view of the compromise between the disputants, the possibility of a conviction is remote and the continuation of a criminal proceeding would cause oppression and prejudice; and

(x) There is yet an exception to the principle set out in propositions (viii) and

(ix) above. Economic offences involving the financial and economic well-being of the state have implications which lie beyond the domain of a mere dispute between private disputants. The High Court would be justified in declining to quash where the offender is involved in an activity akin to a financial or economic fraud or misdemeanour. The consequences of the act complained of upon the financial or economic system will weigh in the balance.…..”


REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1723 OF 2017
[Arising out of SLP(CRL) No 9549 of 2016]

PARBATBHAI AAHIR @ PARBATBHAI BHIMSINHBHAI KARMUR AND ORS **Appellants

 

VERSUS

 

STATE OF GUJARAT AND ANR. ..Respondents

 

JUDGMENT

Dr D Y CHANDRACHUD, J

(1) Leave granted.

 

(2) By its judgment dated 25 November 2016, the High Court of Gujarat dismissed an application under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The appellants sought the quashing of a First Information Report registered against them on 18 June 2016 with the City ‘C’ Division Police Station, District Jamnagar, Gujarat for offences punishable under Sections 384, 467, 468, 471, 120-B and 506(2) of the Penal Code. The second respondent is the complainant.

(3) In his complaint dated 18 June 2016, the second respondent stated that certain land admeasuring 17 vigha comprised in survey 1408 at Panakhan Gokulnagar in Jamnagar city was his ancestral agricultural land. The land was converted to non-agricultural use on 21 June 1995 and 5 January 2000 pursuant to orders of the District Collector. One hundred and three plots were carved out of the land. Amongst them, plots 45 to 56 admeasuring 32,696 sq.ft. were in the joint names of six brothers and a sister (represented by the complainant). According to the complainant, a broker by the name of Bachhubhai Veljibhai Nanda approached him with Parbatbhai Ahir, the first appellant stating that he desired to purchase the land. On the next day, the first appellant approached the complainant with his partner Hasmukhbhai Patel (the third appellant) to purchase the land. The complainant was requested to provide a photocopy of the lay out plan of the plot, which he did. On the following day the first appellant is alleged to have gone to the house of the complainant with the second and the third appellants at which point in time, parties agreed that the land would be sold at the rate of Rs 4,221 per sq.ft. and a deal was struck for a consideration of Rs.1,13,58,711/- out of which an amount of Rs 11 lakhs was given in cash to the complainant for plot no.56. The complainant’s case is that while the discussion was on, he was requested by the second and the third appellants that since the power of attorney was old and unreadable all the plot holders should give their passport size photographs. Accordingly, a document was reduced to writing by which it was agreed that the sale transaction for plot no.56 would be completed within two months against full payment. According to the complainant, when he demanded the remaining payment for the plot from the second and third appellants, the second appellant provided him seven cheques each in the amount of Rs 6 lakhs in the name of the six brothers (one brother being given two cheques). Thereafter when the complainant followed up for the payment of the remaining amount with the purchasers, the balance was not paid and, on the contrary, the complainant was threatened of a forcible transfer of the land. According to the complainant, when he visited the office of the Sub-registrar about three days before lodging the complaint, it came to his knowledge that a sale deed has been registered not only in respect of the plot in question (which was agreed to be sold) but also in respect of plot nos.45 to 55 on 27 January 2016. It was then that the complainant realised that the purchaser in the sale deed was shown as the fourth appellant, Jayesh Arvindbhai Patel, and the name of the seventh appellant, Jitudan Nankudan Gadhavi, resident of Payalnagar society, Naroda, Ahmedabad was shown as the holder of a power of attorney. The witnesses to the registered sale deed were the fifth appellant, Rabari Hiteshbhai and the sixth appellant, Patel Indravaden Dineshbhai.

(4) The complaint came to be lodged on the complainant having realised that the power of attorney in the name of his siblings had been forged. The complainant stated that neither he nor any of his siblings had given a power of attorney in favour of the seventh appellant. According to the complainant, neither the non-judicial stamp dated 25 January 2016 in the amount of Rs 10,30,000/- nor the judicial stamp dated 27 January 2016 has been purchased by him. In fact, according to the complainant, it was the fourth appellant who had purchased the judicial stamp dated 27 January 2016.

(5) According to the complaint, plots no.45 to 55 admeasuring 30,005 sq.ft. are valued at Rs 12.50 crores. It has been alleged that a conspiracy was hatched by the appellants and by the other co-accused resulting into the transfer of valuable land belonging to the complainant and his siblings, on the basis of forged documents.

(6) The High Court noted that the fourth appellant had moved Special Criminal Application no.4538 of 2016 which had been rejected by the coordinate bench of the High Court on 3 August 2016. While rejecting the earlier application under Section 482, the High Court had observed thus: “19. Primary details revealed the complaint had led this Court examine the papers of the investigation. The evidence so far collected prima facie reveal the involvement of the petitioner.This Court also could notice that it is a case where under the pretext of buying only a particular Plot No.56 from the complainant and his family members, the power of attorney has been forged usurping nearly 10 other plots which value nearly 11 crores and odd by allegedly conniving with each other, and therefore, the payment of Rs 42 lakhs by the cheques to the complainant in relation to one of the plots also would pale into insignificance. This, by no means, even at a prima facie level, can be said to be a civil dispute, given a colour of criminality. It would be in the interest of both the sides for this Court to either, at this stage not to make a roving inquiry or divulge anything which may affect the ongoing investigation. Suffice it to note that, the petition does not deserved to be entertained an the same stands rejected.” Before the High Court, the plea for quashing the First Information Report was advanced on the ground that the appellants had amicably settled the dispute with the complainant. The complainant had also filed an affidavit to that effect.

(7) On behalf of the prosecution, the Public Prosecutor opposed the application for quashing on two grounds. First – the appellants were absconding and warrants had been issued against them under Section 70 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Second, the appellants had criminal antecedents, the details of which are contained in the following chart submitted before the High Court:

.. 1 Parbatbhai Bhimsinhbhai Karmur P.1
.. a. City “A” Division Jamnagar CR No 1-251/2010

 

.. 2 Ramde Bhikha Nanadaniya P.2
.. a. City “A”Division Jamnagar
.. b. City “A” Division Jamnagar CR No.1-105/2016
.. c. City “A” Division Jamnagar CR No.1-251/2010

 

.. 3 Hasmukh Hansrajbhai Patel P.3
.. a. Gandhinagar M-Case No.1/2014
.. b. City “A” Division Jamnagar CR No.1-105/2016

 

.. 4 Indravadan Dineshbhai Patel P.6
.. a. City “A: Division Jamnagar CR No.1-105/2016

 

.. 5 Jitendra Somabhai Modi P.7
.. a. City “A” Division Jamnagar CR No.1-105/2016
.. b. Odhav Police Station CR No.I-180/2015

 

.. 6 Vishnu @ Toto Rabari
.. a. Gandhinagar M-Case No.1/2014
.. b. City “A: Division Jamnagar CR No.I-105/2016

The High Court observed that it had been given “a fair idea” about the modus operandi adopted by the appellants for grabbing the land, in the course of which they had opened bogus bank accounts. The High Court held that the case involves extortion, forgery and conspiracy and all the appellants have acted as a team. Hence, in the view of the High Court, it was not in the interest of society at large to accept the settlement and quash the FIR. The High Court held that the charges are of a serious nature and the activities of the appellants render them a potential threat to society. On this ground, the prayer to quash the First Information Report has been rejected.

(8) On behalf of the appellants, reliance has been placed on the decisions rendered by this Court in Gian Singh v State of Punjab1 and in Narinder Singh v State of Punjab2. Learned counsel submitted that the dispute between the complainant and the appellants arose from a transaction for the sale of land. It was urged that the dispute is essentially of a civil nature and since parties have agreed to an amicable settlement, the proper course for the High Court would have been to quash the FIR in exercise of the jurisdiction conferred by Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. 1 (2012) 10 SCC 303 2 (2014) 6 SCC 466

(9) On the other hand, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the state has supported the judgment of the High Court. Learned counsel emphasised the circumstances which weighed with the High Court, including (i) the seriousness of the allegations; (ii) the conduct of the appellants who were absconding; and (iii) the criminal antecedents of the appellants. Hence, it was urged that the appellants were not entitled to the relief of quashing the FIR merely because they had entered into a settlement with the complainant.

(10) Section 482 is prefaced with an overriding provision. The statute saves the inherent power of the High Court, as a superior court, to make such orders as are necessary (i) to prevent an abuse of the process of any court; or (ii) otherwise to secure the ends of justice. In Gian Singh (supra) a bench of three learned Judges of this Court adverted to the body of precedent on the subject and laid down guiding principles which the High Court should consider in determining as to whether to quash an FIR or complaint in the exercise of the inherent jurisdiction. The considerations which must weigh with the High Court are:

  “61 …the power of the High Court in quashing a criminal proceeding or FIR or complaint in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction is distinct and different from the power given to a criminal court for compounding the offences under Section 320 of the Code. Inherent power is of wide plenitude with no statutory limitation but it has to be exercised in accord with the guideline engrafted in such power viz.: (i) to secure the ends of justice, or (ii) to prevent abuse of the process of any court. In what cases power to quash the criminal proceeding or complaint or FIR may be exercised where the offender and the victim have settled their dispute would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case and no category can be prescribed. However, before exercise of such power, the High Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the crime. Heinous and serious offences of mental depravity or offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc. cannot be fittingly quashed even though the victim or victim’s family and the offender have settled the dispute. Such offences are not private in nature and have a serious impact on society.

Similarly, any compromise between the victim and the offender in relation to the offences under special statutes like the Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences committed by public servants while working in that capacity, etc; cannot provide for any basis for quashing criminal proceedings involving such offences. But the criminal cases having overwhelmingly and predominatingly civil flavour stand on a different footing for the purposes of quashing, particularly the offences arising from commercial, financial, mercantile, civil, partnership or such like transactions or the offences arising out of matrimony relating to dowry, etc. or the family disputes where the wrong is basically private or personal in nature and the parties have resolved their entire dispute. In this category of cases, the High Court may quash the criminal proceedings if in its view, because of the compromise between the offender and the victim, the possibility of conviction is remote and bleak and continuation of the criminal case would put the accused to great oppression and prejudice and extreme injustice would be caused to him by not quashing the criminal case despite full and complete settlement and compromise with the victim. In other words, the High Court must consider whether it would be unfair or contrary to the interest of justice to continue with the criminal proceeding or continuation of the criminal proceeding would tantamount to abuse of process of law despite settlement and compromise between the victim and the wrongdoer and whether to secure the ends of justice, it is appropriate that the criminal case is put to an end and if the answer to the above question(s) is in the affirmative, the High Court shall be well within its jurisdiction to quash the criminal proceeding.”

(11) In Narinder Singh (supra), Dr Justice A K Sikri, speaking for a bench of two learned Judges of this Court observed that in respect of offences against society, it is the duty of the state to punish the offender. In consequence, deterrence provides a rationale for punishing the offender. Hence, even when there is a settlement, the view of the offender and victim will not prevail since it is in the interest of society that the offender should be punished to deter others from committing a similar crime. On the other hand, there may be offences falling in the category where the correctional objective of criminal law would have to be given more weightage than the theory of deterrence. In such a case, the court may be of the opinion that a settlement between the parties would lead to better relations between them and would resolve a festering private dispute. The court observed that the timing of a settlement is of significance in determining whether the jurisdiction under Section 482 should be exercised:

“29.7…Those cases where the settlement is arrived at immediately after the alleged commission of offence and the matter is still under investigation, the High Court may be liberal in accepting the settlement to quash the criminal proceedings/investigation.

It is because of the reason that at this stage the investigation is still on and even the charge-sheet has not been filed. Likewise, those cases where the charge is framed but the evidence is yet to start or the evidence is still at infancy stage, the High Court can show benevolence in exercising its powers favourably, but after prima facie assessment of the circumstances/material mentioned above. On the other hand, where the prosecution evidence is almost complete or after the conclusion of the evidence the matter is at the stage of argument, normally the High Court should refrain from exercising its power under Section 482 of the Code, as in such cases the trial court would be in a position to decide the case finally on merits…” This Court held, while dealing with an offence under Section 307 of the Penal Code that the following circumstances had weighed with it in quashing the First Information Report:

“33. We have gone through the FIR as well which was recorded on the basis of statement of the complainant/victim. It gives an indication that the complainant was attacked allegedly by the accused persons because of some previous dispute between the parties, though nature of dispute etc. is not stated in detail.

However, a very pertinent statement appears on record viz., “respectable persons have been trying for a compromise up till now, which could not be finalized”. This becomes an important aspect. It appears that there have been some disputes which led to the aforesaid purported attack by the accused on the complainant. In this context when we find that the elders of the village, including Sarpanch, intervened in the matter and the parties have not only buried their hatchet but have decided to live peacefully in future, this becomes an important consideration. The evidence is yet to be led in the Court. It has not even started. In view of compromise between parties, there is a minimal chance of the witnesses coming forward in support of the prosecution case. Even though nature of injuries can still be established by producing the doctor as witness who conducted medical examination, it may become difficult to prove as to who caused these injuries. The chances of conviction, therefore, appear to be remote. It would, therefore, be unnecessary to drag these proceedings…”

(12) In State of Maharashtra v Vikram Anantrai Doshi3, a bench of two learned Judges of this Court explained the earlier decisions and the principles 3 (2014) 15 SCC 29 which must govern in deciding whether a criminal proceeding involving a non-compoundable offence should be quashed. In that case, the respondents were alleged to have obtained Letters of Credit from a bank in favour of fictitious entities. The charge-sheet involved offences under Sections 406, 420, 467, 468, and 471 read with Section 120-B of the Penal Code. Bogus beneficiary companies were alleged to have got them discounted by attaching fabricated bills. Mr Justice Dipak Misra (as the learned Chief Justice then was) emphasised that the case involved an allegation of forgery; hence the court was not dealing with a simple case where “the accused had borrowed money from a bank, to divert it elsewhere”. The court held that the manner in which Letters of Credit were issued and funds were siphoned off had a foundation in criminal law: “… availing of money from a nationalized bank in the manner, as alleged by the investigating agency, vividly exposits fiscal impurity and, in a way, financial fraud. The modus operandi as narrated in the chargesheet cannot be put in the compartment of an individual or personal wrong. It is a social wrong and it has immense societal impact. It is an accepted principle of handling of finance that whenever there is manipulation and cleverly conceived contrivance to avail of these kind of benefits it cannot be regarded as a case having overwhelmingly and predominatingly of civil character. The ultimate victim is the collective. It creates a hazard in the financial interest of the society. The gravity of the offence creates a dent in the economic spine of the nation.” The judgment of the High Court quashing the criminal proceedings was hence set aside by this Court.

(13) The same principle was followed in Central Bureau of Investigation v Maninder Singh4 by a bench of two learned Judges of this Court. In that case, the High Court had, in the exercise of its inherent power under Section 482 quashed proceedings under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 read with Section 120-B of the Penal Code. While allowing the appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation Mr Justice Dipak Misra (as the learned Chief Justice then was) observed that the case involved allegations of forgery of documents to embezzle the funds of the bank. In such a situation, the fact that the dispute had been settled with the bank would not justify a recourse to the power under Section 482: “…In economic offences Court must not only keep in view that money has been paid to the bank which has been defrauded but also the society at large. It is not a case of simple assault or a theft of a trivial amount; but the offence with which we are concerned is well planned and was committed with a deliberate design with an eye of personal profit regardless of consequence to the society at large. To quash the proceeding merely on the ground that the accused has settled the amount with the bank would be a misplaced sympathy. If the prosecution against the economic offenders are not allowed to continue, the entire community is aggrieved.”

(14) In a subsequent decision in State of Tamil Nadu v R Vasanthi Stanley5, the court rejected the submission that the first respondent was a 4 (2016) 1 SCC 389 5 (2016)1 SCC 376 woman “who was following the command of her husband” and had signed certain documents without being aware of the nature of the fraud which was being perpetrated on the bank. Rejecting the submission, this Court held that: “… Lack of awareness, knowledge or intent is neither to be considered nor accepted in economic offences. The submission assiduously presented on gender leaves us unimpressed. An offence under the criminal law is an offence and it does not depend upon the gender of an accused. True it is, there are certain provisions in Code of Criminal Procedure relating to exercise of jurisdiction Under Section 437, etc. therein but that altogether pertains to a different sphere. A person committing a murder or getting involved in a financial scam or forgery of documents, cannot claim discharge or acquittal on the ground of her gender as that is neither constitutionally nor statutorily a valid argument. The offence is gender neutral in this case. We say no more on this score…” “…A grave criminal offence or serious economic offence or for that matter the offence that has the potentiality to create a dent in the financial health of the institutions, is not to be quashed on the ground that there is delay in trial or the principle that when the matter has been settled it should be quashed to avoid the load on the system…”

(15) The broad principles which emerge from the precedents on the subject, may be summarised in the following propositions :

(i) Section 482 preserves the inherent powers of the High Court to prevent an abuse of the process of any court or to secure the ends of justice. The provision does not confer new powers. It only recognises and preserves powers which inhere in the High Court;

(ii) The invocation of the jurisdiction of the High Court to quash a First Information Report or a criminal proceeding on the ground that a settlement has been arrived at between the offender and the victim is not the same as the invocation of jurisdiction for the purpose of compounding an offence. While compounding an offence, the power of the court is governed by the provisions of Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The power to quash under Section 482 is attracted even if the offence is non-compoundable.

(iii) In forming an opinion whether a criminal proceeding or complaint should be quashed in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482, the High Court must evaluate whether the ends of justice would justify the exercise of the inherent power;

(iv) While the inherent power of the High Court has a wide ambit and plenitude it has to be exercised; (i) to secure the ends of justice or (ii) to prevent an abuse of the process of any court;

(v) The decision as to whether a complaint or First Information Report should be quashed on the ground that the offender and victim have settled the dispute, revolves ultimately on the facts and circumstances of each case and no exhaustive elaboration of principles can be formulated;

(vi) In the exercise of the power under Section 482 and while dealing with a plea that the dispute has been settled, the High Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the offence. Heinous and serious offences involving mental depravity or offences such as murder, rape and dacoity cannot appropriately be quashed though the victim or the family of the victim have settled the dispute. Such offences are, truly speaking, not private in nature but have a serious impact upon society. The decision to continue with the trial in such cases is founded on the overriding element of public interest in punishing persons for serious offences;

(vii) As distinguished from serious offences, there may be criminal cases which have an overwhelming or predominant element of a civil dispute. They stand on a distinct footing in so far as the exercise of the inherent power to quash is concerned;

(viii) Criminal cases involving offences which arise from commercial, financial, mercantile, partnership or similar transactions with an essentially civil flavour may in appropriate situations fall for quashing where parties have settled the dispute;

(ix) In such a case, the High Court may quash the criminal proceeding if in view of the compromise between the disputants, the possibility of a conviction is remote and the continuation of a criminal proceeding would cause oppression and prejudice; and

(x) There is yet an exception to the principle set out in propositions (viii) and

(ix) above. Economic offences involving the financial and economic well-being of the state have implications which lie beyond the domain of a mere dispute between private disputants. The High Court would be justified in declining to quash where the offender is involved in an activity akin to a financial or economic fraud or misdemeanour. The consequences of the act complained of upon the financial or economic system will weigh in the balance. https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick/status/1011037375793856512

(16) Bearing in mind the above principles which have been laid down in the decisions of this Court, we are of the view that the High Court was justified in declining to entertain the application for quashing the First Information Report in the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction. The High Court has adverted to two significant circumstances. Each of them has a bearing on whether the exercise of the jurisdiction under Section 482 to quash the FIR would subserve or secure the ends of justice or prevent an abuse of the process of the court. The first is that the appellants were absconding and warrants had been issued against them under Section 70 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The second is that the appellants have criminal antecedents, reflected in the chart which has been extracted in the earlier part of this judgment. The High Court adverted to the modus operandi which had been followed by the appellants in grabbing valuable parcels of land and noted that in the past as well, they were alleged to have been connected with such nefarious activities by opening bogus bank accounts. It was in this view of the matter that the High Court observed that in a case involving extortion, forgery and conspiracy where all the appellants were acting as a team, it was not in the interest of society to quash the FIR on the ground that a settlement had been arrived at with the complainant. We agree with the view of the High Court. The present case, as the allegations in the FIR would demonstrate, is not merely one involving a private dispute over a land transaction between two contesting parties. The case involves allegations of extortion, forgery and fabrication of documents, utilization of fabricated documents to effectuate transfers of title before the registering authorities and the deprivation of the complainant of his interest in land on the basis of a fabricated power of attorney. If the allegations in the FIR are construed as they stand, it is evident that they implicate serious offences having a bearing on a vital societal interest in securing the probity of titles to or interest in land. Such offences cannot be construed to be merely private or civil disputes but implicate the societal interest in prosecuting serious crime. In these circumstances, the High Court was eminently justified in declining to quash the FIR which had been registered under Sections 384, 467, 468, 471, 120-B and 506(2) of the Penal Code. https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick/status/1011037375793856512

(17) We do not, for the above reasons, find any merit in the appeal. The Criminal Appeal shall accordingly stand dismissed.

****…………………………………CJI [DIPAK MISRA]

****…………………………………..J [A M KHANWILKAR]

****…………………………………J [Dr D Y CHANDRACHUD]

New Delhi;

October 04, 2017

after words of wisdom, Hon SC Judge orders sick jobless husband to pay 5000 every hearing !!

Monthly maintenance and that too at interim stage is the worst millstone around men’s neck. In yet another case exemplifying this sad situation, a sick and jobless husband was told that HE HAS TO WORK and he HAS to earn, so that he can continue to pay his wife !! The poor fella has to pay 5000 per month in addition to fighting multiple cases and taking care of his kids

You Say You’re a Homemaker But Where’s the Home, SC Asks Unemployed Husband

The bench ordered for consolidation of all the cases between the warring couple and directed the judge-in-charge to ensure cases are not scattered over various courts.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:February 28, 2018, 9:01 AM IST

You Say You're a Homemaker But Where's the Home, SC Asks Unemployed Husband

File image of Supreme Court. (Image: PTI)

New Delhi: “You say you are a homemaker but where is the home to make?” the Supreme Court asked a man while hearing a bunch of matrimonial dispute cases.

A bench headed by Justice Kurian Joseph was adjudicating the dispute relating to multiple litigation between the estranged couple when it asked the husband about what he does for a living. “I am a homemaker,” said the man.

“You say you are a homemaker but where is the home to make? You have been fighting with your wife for years and children are also suffering. Where is the home?” Justice Joseph asked him.

At this, the man cut a sorry figure, saying he has tried a lot but it looked very difficult to reconcile with the wife. Justice Joseph then reminded the husband that he could not remain a homemaker anymore.

“You will have to work…earn. You have to maintain your wife, two children and then conduct four cases. You must start working now,” the judge said.

The man replied that he had undergone surgeries and had a severe medical condition.

“That is okay but you cannot afford not to work. You even have the interim custody of two children. So do whatever work comes your way and earn,” Justice Joseph said.

The wife, who was also present in the Court, expressed her difficulties in fighting different cases at different places in Kerala.

Acknowledging her problems, the Court said that it would be better for both the parties if all cases, which include custody battle, divorce, alimony and cruelty, should be heard on the same day in the same court premises.

The bench then ordered for consolidation of all the cases between the warring couple and directed the judge-in-charge to ensure cases are not scattered over various courts.

It also asked the husband to pay Rs 5,000 for transportation and other allowances to the estranged wife for every date of hearing.

source

#Wife #convicted of murdering 3 children files #false #dowry case. Husband wins #divorce on #cruelty. SCC

Classic case where #matrimonial #cruelty is discussed; Smt. #Mayadevi vs #Jagdish #Prasad on 21 February, 2007; #Supreme #Court of India

A married woman, mother of four kids acts cruelly to her children, keeps them tied with ropes, does NOT even feed the husband, borrows monies and refused to repay the same and finally #kills #three of her children #throwing them into a #well !! She is arrested and #convicted u/s #302IPC. She filed an application for bail. While on bail, she filed a false case alleging dowry demand against the respondent-husband and his family members. Final report was given by police and it was observed that a false case had been lodged. However husband wins divorce on grounds of crulety. Supreme court affirms the same !!

This case establishes that proof beyond reasonable doubt is NOT required in matrimonial disputes: The concept of proof beyond the shadow of doubt is to be applied to criminal trials and not to civil matters and certainly not to matters of such delicate personal relationship as those of husband and wife. Therefore, one has to see what are the probabilities in a case and legal cruelty has to be found out, not merely as a matter of fact but as the effect on the mind of the complainant spouse because of the acts or omissions of the other. Cruelty may be physical or corporeal or may be mental. In physical cruelty, there can be tangible and direct evidence, but in the case of mental cruelty there may not at the same time be direct evidence. In cases where there is no direct evidence. Courts are required to probe into the mental process and mental effect of incidents that are brought out in evidence. It is in this view that one has to consider the evidence in matrimonial matters.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Supreme Court of India

Smt. Mayadevi vs Jagdish Prasad on 21 February, 2007

Author: . A Pasayat

Bench: Dr. Arijit Pasayat, Dalveer Bhandari

CASE NO.: Appeal (civil) 877 of 2007

PETITIONER: Smt. Mayadevi

RESPONDENT: Jagdish Prasad

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 21/02/2007

BENCH: Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT & DALVEER BHANDARI

JUDGMENT:

J U D G M E N T (Arising out of SLP (C) NO. 3686 OF 2006) Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.

Leave granted.

Challenge in this appeal is to the judgment rendered by a learned Single Judge of the Rajasthan High Court at Jodhpur dismissing the appeal filed by the appellant under Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (in short the ‘Act’).

Background facts in a nutshell are as follows:

Respondent filed an application for divorce on the ground of cruelty alleging that because of the acts of cruelty on several occasions perpetuated by the appellant, the respondent- husband was under apprehension that it would not be desirable and safe to stay with the appellant and to continue their marital relationships.

It was, inter-alia, stated in the divorce petition as follows:

Parties got married according to the Hindu rites on 17.4.1993. The appellant’s father was an employee in the Railway department and the appellant used to make demands for money frequently and used to quarrel when money was not paid. She did not even provide food to her husband or the children and used to threaten the husband to falsely implicate him in a case of dowry demand and to kill the children and to put the blame on the respondent-husband and his family members. On 23.10.1999 she took Rs.1,05,000/- from the respondent and acknowledged the receipt of the money in the diary of the respondent-husband. She used to borrow money from time to time at the behest of her parents. From the wedlock four children were borne namely, Neha, Anu, Khemraj and Vishnu Sagar. The appellant used to keep the children tied by ropes and she attempted to throw them down from the rooftop and used to physically torture them. She was temperamentally very cruel and used to behave cruelly with the children also. She always used to threaten that she will destroy the whole family of the respondent and that there would be no successor left in the family. On 5.4.2002 at about 12.00 noon she left her parental home alongwith three children namely, Neha, Anu and Khemraj on the pretext that she was going to her parental house which was located in the same village. Since she did not return till evening as was told to the respondent-husband, he started searching for her. During course of search the garments and slippers of the children and the appellant were found lying near the well of Ramialji. Police was informed and on search dead bodies of the three children were recovered from the well and appellant was also taken out of the well. A criminal case was instituted and she was convicted for an offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the ‘IPC’). She was pregnant at that time and subsequently delivered a child. She filed an application for bail. While on bail, she filed a false case alleging dowry demand against the respondent-husband and his family members. Final report was given by police and it was observed that a false case had been lodged. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick

The appellant filed her response to the petition for divorce and contended that no amount was borrowed by her father or any of her family members. The respondent-husband used to threaten her for dowry and she had never perpetuated any cruelty so far as the children and the husband are concerned. She did not know as to how the children fell into the well. She was herself unconscious and recovered after about four days. The husband, in fact, turned her out of matrimonial home on 5.4.2002 alongwith their three children. Unfortunately, she and the three children fell into the well. The appeal is pending against her conviction. The trial Court found that the allegation of cruelty was established. Several instances were noted. One of them related to her behaviour on the date of judgment in the criminal case. After the judgment of conviction was pronounced, she threatened to kill the husband and prosecute him. It was also noted by the trial Court that the allegation made by her alleging for dowry demand was dis-believed and the police gave final report stating that the case was falsely lodged. The trial Court granted the decree of divorce which was, as noted above, confirmed by the High Court in appeal by dismissing appellant appeal.

Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the foundation of decree for divorce is the alleged conviction for which the appeal is pending and, therefore, the High Court should not have disposed of the matter. In any event, it is submitted that it was the husband and his family members who were torturing her and being threatened by the husband she had not made any grievance with the police. Unfortunately, when she made the allegation, the police did not properly investigate the matter and gave a final report exonerating the husband.

Learned counsel for the respondent on the other hand submitted that the instances highlighted by the trial Court and analysed in great detail by the High Court clearly made out a case for dowry and no interference is called for in this appeal.

The expression “cruelty” has not been defined in the Act. Cruelty can be physical or mental. Cruelty which is a ground for dissolution of marriage may be defined as wilful and unjustifiable conduct of such character as to cause danger to life, limb or health, bodily or mental, or as to give rise to a reasonable apprehension of such a danger. The question of mental cruelty has to be considered in the light of the norms of marital ties of the particular society to which the parties belong, their social values, status, environment in which they live. Cruelty, as noted above, includes mental cruelty, which falls within the purview of a matrimonial wrong. Cruelty need not be physical. If from the conduct of his spouse same is established and/or an inference can be legitimately drawn that the treatment of the spouse is such that it causes an apprehension in the mind of the other spouse, about his or her mental welfare then this conduct amounts to cruelty. In delicate human relationship like matrimony, one has to see the probabilities of the case. The concept, a proof beyond the shadow of doubt, is to be applied to criminal trials and not to civil matters and certainly not to matters of such delicate personal relationship as those of husband and wife. Therefore, one has to see what are the probabilities in a case and legal cruelty has to be found out, not merely as a matter of fact, but as the effect on the mind of the complainant spouse because of the acts or omissions of the other. Cruelty may be physical or corporeal or may be mental. In physical cruelty, there can be tangible and direct evidence, but in the case of mental cruelty there may not at the same time be direct evidence. In cases where there is no direct evidence, Courts are required to probe into the mental process and mental effect of incidents that are brought out in evidence. It is in this view that one has to consider the evidence in matrimonial disputes.

The expression ‘cruelty’ has been used in relation to human conduct or human behaviour. It is the conduct in relation to or in respect of matrimonial duties and obligations. Cruelty is a course or conduct of one, which is adversely affecting the other. The cruelty may be mental or physical, intentional or unintentional. If it is physical, the Court will have no problem in determining it. It is a question of fact and degree. If it is mental, the problem presents difficulties. First, the enquiry must begin as to the nature of cruel treatment, second the impact of such treatment in the mind of the spouse, whether it caused reasonable apprehension that it would be harmful or injurious to live with the other. Ultimately, it is a matter of inference to be drawn by taking into account the nature of the conduct and its effect on the complaining spouse. However, there may be a case where the conduct complained of itself is bad enough and per se unlawful or illegal. Then the impact or injurious effect on the other spouse need not be enquired into or considered. In such cases, the cruelty will be established if the conduct itself is proved or admitted (See Shobha Rani v. Madhukar Reddi, AIR 1988 SC 121 and A. Jayachandra v. Aneel Kaur 2005 (2) SCC 22 ).

To constitute cruelty, the conduct complained of should be “grave and weighty” so as to come to the conclusion that the petitioner spouse cannot be reasonably expected to live with the other spouse. It must be something more serious than “ordinary wear and tear of married life”. The conduct, taking into consideration the circumstances and background has to be examined to reach the conclusion whether the conduct complained of amounts to cruelty in the matrimonial law. Conduct has to be considered, as noted above, in the background of several factors such as social status of parties, their education, physical and mental conditions, customs and traditions. It is difficult to lay down a precise definition or to give exhaustive description of the circumstances, which would constitute cruelty. It must be of the type as to satisfy the conscience of the Court that the relationship between the parties had deteriorated to such an extent due to the conduct of the other spouse that it would be impossible for them to live together without mental agony, torture or distress, to entitle the complaining spouse to secure divorce. Physical violence is not absolutely essential to constitute cruelty and a consistent course of conduct inflicting immeasurable mental agony and torture may well constitute cruelty within the meaning of Section 10 of the Act. Mental cruelty may consist of verbal abuses and insults by using filthy and abusive language leading to constant disturbance of mental peace of the other party.

The Court dealing with the petition for divorce on the ground of cruelty has to bear in mind that the problems before it are those of human beings and the psychological changes in a spouse’s conduct have to be borne in mind before disposing of the petition for divorce. However insignificant or trifling, such conduct may cause pain in the mind of another. But before the conduct can be called cruelty, it must touch a certain pitch of severity. It is for the Court to weigh the gravity. It has to be seen whether the conduct was such that no reasonable person would tolerate it. It has to be considered whether the complainant should be called upon to endure as a part of normal human life. Every matrimonial conduct, which may cause annoyance to the other, may not amount to cruelty. Mere trivial irritations, quarrels between spouses, which happen in day-to-day married life, may also not amount to cruelty. Cruelty in matrimonial life may be of unfounded variety, which can be subtle or brutal. It may be words, gestures or by mere silence, violent or non-violent.

The foundation of a sound marriage is tolerance, adjustment and respecting one another. Tolerance to each other’s fault to a certain bearable extent has to be inherent in every marriage. Petty quibbles, trifling differences should not be exaggerated and magnified to destroy what is said to have been made in heaven. All quarrels must be weighed from that point of view in determining what constitutes cruelty in each particular case and as noted above, always keeping in view the physical and mental conditions of the parties, their character and social status. A too technical and hyper-sensitive approach would be counter-productive to the institution of marriage. The Courts do not have to deal with ideal husbands and ideal wives. It has to deal with particular man and woman before it. The ideal couple or a mere ideal one will probably have no occasion to go to Matrimonial Court. (See Dastane v. Dastane, AIR 1975 SC 1534). http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick

The instances of cruelty highlighted by the trial Court and also by the High Court clearly prove that the husband was subjected to mental and physical cruelty. It is not a fact as submitted by learned counsel for the appellant that the conviction in the criminal case was the foundation for the decree. On the contrary, the trial Court clearly mentioned that the aspect was not taken note of as the appeal was pending.

In view of what has been stated above, the inevitable result is dismissal of the appeal which we direct. There will be no order as to costs.

Merely weekends together or a #one #night #stand would #not make it #domestic #relationship’ SCC

classic case defining domestic relationship . Hon J Katju, SCC

/////////33. In our opinion a relationship in the nature of marriage' is akin to a common law marriage. Common law marriages require that although not being formally married :- (a) The couple must hold themselves out to society as being akin to spouses. (b) They must be of legal age to marry. (c) They must be otherwise qualified to enter into a legal marriage, including being unmarried. (d) They must have voluntarily cohabited and held themselves out to the world as being akin to spouses for a significant period of time. (seeCommon Law Marriage’ in Wikipedia on Google) In our opinion a relationship in the nature of marriage' under the 2005 Act must also fulfill the above requirements, and in addition the parties must have lived together in ashared household’ as defined in Section 2(s) of the Act. Merely spending weekends together or a one night stand would not make it a `domestic relationship’.

34. In our opinion not all live in relationships will amount to a relationship in the nature of marriag8e to get the benefit of the Act of 2005. To get such benefit the conditions mentioned by us above must be satisfied, and this has to be proved by evidence. If a man has a `keep’ whom he maintains financially and uses mainly for sexual purpose and/or as a servant it would not, in our opinion, be a relationship in the nature of marriage’ //////////

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 2028-2029__OF 2010
[Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) Nos.2273-2274/2010]

D. Velusamy                                         ..        Appellant

-versus-

D. Patchaiammal                                    ..      Respondent

JUDGMENT

Markandey Katju, J.

  1. Leave granted.
  2. Heard learned counsel for the appellant. None has appeared for the respondent although she has been served notice. We had earlier requested Mr. Jayant Bhushan, learned Senior counsel to assist us as Amicus Curiae in the case, and we record our appreciation of Mr. Bhushan who was of considerable assistance to us.
  3. These appeals have been filed against the judgment of the Madras High Court dated 12.10.2009.
  4. The appellant herein has alleged that he was married according to the Hindu Customary Rites with one Lakshmi on 25.6.1980. Out of the wedlock with Lakshmi a male child was born, who is now studying in an Engineering college at Ooty. The petitioner is working as a Secondary Teacher in Thevanga Higher Secondary School, Coimbatore.
  5. It appears that the respondent-D. Patchaiammal filed a petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C. in the year 2001 before the Family Court at Coimbatore in which she alleged that she was married to the appellant herein on 14.9.1986 and since then the appellant herein and she lived together in her father’s house for two or three years. It is alleged in the petition that after two or three years the appellant herein left the house of the respondent’s father and started living in his native place, but would visit the respondent occasionally.
  6. It is alleged that the appellant herein (respondent in the petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C.) deserted the respondent herein (petitioner in the proceeding under Section 125 Cr.P.C.) two or three years after marrying her in 1986. In her petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C. she alleged that she did not have any kind of livelihood and she is unable to maintain herself whereas the respondent (appellant herein) is a Secondary Grade Teacher drawing a salary of Rs.10000/- per month. Hence it was prayed that the respondent (appellant herein) be directed to pay Rs.500/- per month as maintenance to the petitioner.
  7. In both her petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C. as well as in her deposition in the case the respondent has alleged that she was married to the appellant herein on 14.9.1986, and that he left her after two or three years of living together with her in her father’s house.
  8. Thus it is the own case of the respondent herein that the appellant left her in 1988 or 1989 (i.e. two or three years after the alleged marriage in 1986). Why then was the petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C. filed in the year 2001, i.e. after a delay of about twelve years, shall have to be satisfactorily explained by the respondent. This fact also creates some doubt about the case of the respondent herein.
  9. In his counter affidavit filed by the appellant herein before the Family Court, Coimbatore, it was alleged that the respondent (appellant herein) was married to one Lakshmi on 25.6.1980 as per the Hindu Marriage rites and customs and he had a male child, who is studying in C.S.I. Engineering college at Ooty. To prove his marriage with Lakshmi the appellant produced the ration card, voter’s identity card of his wife, transfer certificate of his son, discharge certificate of his wife Lakshmi from hospital, photographs of the wedding, etc.
  10. The learned Family Court Judge has held by his judgment dated 5.3.2004 that the appellant was married to the respondent and not to Lakshmi. These findings have been upheld by the High Court in the impugned judgment. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick
  11. In our opinion, since Lakshmi was not made a party to the proceedings before the Family Court Judge or before the High Court and no notice was issued to her hence any declaration about her marital status vis-`- vis the appellant is wholly null and void as it will be violative of the rules of natural justice. Without giving a hearing to Lakshmi no such declaration could have validly be given by the Courts below that she had not married the appellant herein since such as a finding would seriously affect her rights. And if no such declaration could have been given obviously no declaration could validly have been given that the appellant was validly married to the respondent, because if Lakshmi was the wife of the appellant then without divorcing her the appellant could not have validly married the respondent.
  12. It may be noted that Section 125 Cr.P.C. provides for giving maintenance to the wife and some other relatives. The word `wife’ has been defined in Explanation (b) to Section 125(1) of the Cr.P.C. as follows : “Wife includes a woman who has been divorced by, or has obtained a divorce from, her husband and has not remarried.”
  13. In Vimala (K) vs. Veeraswamy (K) [(1991) 2 SCC 375], a three- Judge Bench of this Court held that Section 125 of the Code of 1973 is meant to achieve a social purpose and the object is to prevent vagrancy and destitution. Explaining the meaning of the word `wife’ the Court held: “..the object is to prevent vagrancy and destitution. It provides a speedy remedy for the supply of food, clothing and shelter to the deserted wife. When an attempt is made by the husband to negative the claim of the neglected wife depicting her as a kept-mistress on the specious plea that he was already married, the court would insist on strict proof of the earlier marriage. The term `wife’ in Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, includes a woman who has been divorced by a husband or who has obtained a divorce from her husband and has not remarried. The woman not having the legal status of a wife is thus brought within the inclusive definition of the term `wife’ consistent with the objective. However, under the law a second wife whose marriage is void on account of the survival of the first marriage is not a legally wedded wife, and is, therefore, not entitled to maintenance under this provision.”
  14. In a subsequent decision of this Court in Savitaben Somabhat Bhatiya vs. State of Gujarat and others, AIR 2005 SC 1809, this Court held that however desirable it may be to take note of the plight of an unfortunate woman, who unwittingly enters into wedlock with a married man, there is no scope to include a woman not lawfully married within the expression of `wife’. The Bench held that this inadequacy in law can be amended only by the Legislature.
  15. Since we have held that the Courts below erred in law in holding that Lakshmi was not married to the appellant (since notice was not issued to her and she was not heard), it cannot be said at this stage that the respondent herein is the wife of the appellant. A divorced wife is treated as a wife for the purpose of Section 125 Cr.P.C. but if a person has not even been married obviously that person could not be divorced. Hence the respondent herein cannot claim to be the wife of the appellant herein, unless it is established that the appellant was not married to Lakshmi.
  16. However, the question has also be to be examined from the point of view of The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Section 2(a) of the Act states :
    • “2(a) “aggrieved person” means any woman who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the respondent and who alleges to have been subjected to any act of domestic violence by the respondent”; 
    • Section 2(f) states :
      • “2(f) “domestic relationship” means a relationship between two persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage, or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family”;
    • Section 2(s) states :
      • “2(s) “shared household” means a household where the person aggrieved lives or at any stage has lived in a domestic relationship either singly or along with the respondent and includes such a household whether owned or tenanted either jointly by the aggrieved person and the respondent, or owned or tenanted by either of them in respect of which either the aggrieved person or the respondent or both jointly or singly have any right, title, interest or equity and includes such a household which may belong to the joint family of which the respondent is a member, irrespective of whether the respondent or the aggrieved person has any right, title or interest in the shared household.”
    • Section 3(a) states that an act will constitute domestic violence in case it-
      • “3(a) harms or injures or endangers the health, safety, life, limb or well-being, whether mental or physical, of the aggrieved person or tends to do so and includes causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse and economic abuse;” or (emphasis supplied)
  17. The expression “economic abuse” has been defined to include :  “(a) deprivation of all or any economic or financial resources to which the aggrieved person is entitled under any law or custom whether payable under an order of a court or otherwise or which the aggrieved person requires out of necessity including, but not limited to, household necessities for the aggrieved person and her children, if any, stridhan, property, jointly or separately owned by the aggrieved person, payment of rental related to the shared household and maintenance”.  (emphasis supplied)
  18. An aggrieved person under the Act can approach the Magistrate under Section 12 for the relief mentioned in Section 12(2). Under Section 20(1)(d) the Magistrate can grant maintenance while disposing of the application under Section 12(1).
  19. Section 26(1) provides that the relief mentioned in Section 20 may also be sought in any legal proceeding, before a civil court, family court or a criminal court.
  20. Having noted the relevant provisions in The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, we may point out that the expression `domestic relationship’ includes not only the relationship of marriage but also a relationship `in the nature of marriage’. The question, therefore, arises as to what is the meaning of the expression `a relationship in the nature of marriage’. Unfortunately this expression has not been defined in the Act. Since there is no direct decision of this Court on the interpretation of this expression we think it necessary to interpret it because a large number of cases will be coming up before the Courts in our country on this point, and hence an authoritative decision is required.
  21. In our opinion Parliament by the aforesaid Act has drawn a distinction between the relationship of marriage and a relationship in the nature of marriage, and has provided that in either case the person who enters into either relationship is entitled to the benefit of the Act.
  22. It seems to us that in the aforesaid Act of 2005 Parliament has taken notice of a new social phenomenon which has emerged in our country known as live-in relationship. This new relationship is still rare in our country, and is sometimes found in big urban cities in India, but it is very common in North America and Europe. It has been commented upon by this Court in S. Khushboo vs. Kanniammal & Anr. (2010) 5 SCC 600 (vide para 31).
  23. When a wife is deserted, in most countries the law provides for maintenance to her by her husband, which is called alimony. However, earlier there was no law providing for maintenance to a woman who was having a live-in relationship with a man without being married to him and was then deserted by him.
  24. In USA the expression `palimony’ was coined which means grant of maintenance to a woman who has lived for a substantial period of time with a man without marrying him, and is then deserted by him (see `palimony’ on Google). The first decision on palimony was the well known decision of the California Superior Court in Marvin vs. Marvin (1976) 18 C3d660. This case related to the famous film actor Lee Marvin, with whom a lady Michelle lived for many years without marrying him, and was then deserted by him and she claimed palimony. Subsequently in many decisions of the Courts in USA, the concept of palimony has been considered and developed. The US Supreme Court has not given any decision on whether there is a legal right to palimony, but there are several decisions of the Courts in various States in USA. These Courts in USA have taken divergent views, some granting palimony, some denying it altogether, and some granting it on certain conditions. Hence in USA the law is still in a state of evolution on the right to palimony.
  25. Although there is no statutory basis for grant of palimony in USA, the Courts there which have granted it have granted it on a contractual basis. Some Courts in USA have held that there must be a written or oral agreement between the man and woman that if they separate the man will give palimony to the woman, while other Courts have held that if a man and woman have lived together for a substantially long period without getting married there would be deemed to be an implied or constructive contract that palimony will be given on their separation.
  26. In Taylor vs. Fields (1986) 224 Cal. Rpr. 186 the facts were that the plaintiff Taylor had a relationship with a married man Leo. After Leo died Taylor sued his widow alleging breach of an implied agreement to take care of Taylor financially and she claimed maintenance from the estate of Leo. The Court of Appeals in California held that the relationship alleged by Taylor was nothing more than that of a married man and his mistress. It was held that the alleged contract rested on meretricious consideration and hence was invalid and unenforceable. The Court of Appeals relied on the fact that Taylor did not live together with Leo but only occasionally spent weekends with him. There was no sign of a stable and significant cohabitation between the two.
  27. However, the New Jersey Supreme Court in Devaney vs. L’ Esperance 195 N.J., 247 (2008) held that cohabitation is not necessary to claim palimony, rather “it is the promise to support, expressed or implied, coupled with a marital type relationship, that are indispensable elements to support a valid claim for palimony”. A law has now been passed in 2010 by the State legislature of New Jersey that there must be a written agreement between the parties to claim palimony.
  28. Thus, there are widely divergent views of the Courts in U.S.A. regarding the right to palimony. Some States like Georgia and Tennessee expressly refuse to recognize palimony agreements.
  29. Written palimony contracts are rare, but some US Courts have found implied contracts when a woman has given up her career, has managed the household, and assisted a man in his business for a lengthy period of time. Even when there is no explicit written or oral contract some US Courts have held that the action of the parties make it appear that a constructive or implied contract for grant of palimony existed.
  30. However, a meretricious contract exclusively for sexual service is held in all US Courts as invalid and unenforceable.
  31. In the case before us we are not called upon to decide whether in our country there can be a valid claim for palimony on the basis of a contract, express or implied, written or oral, since no such case was set up by the respondent in her petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C.
  32. Some countries in the world recognize common law marriages. A common law marriage, sometimes called de facto marriage, or informal marriage is recognized in some countries as a marriage though no legally recognized marriage ceremony is performed or civil marriage contract is entered into or the marriage registered in a civil registry (see details on Google).
  33. In our opinion a `relationship in the nature of marriage’ is akin to a common law marriage. Common law marriages require that although not being formally married :-
    • (a) The couple must hold themselves out to society as being akin to spouses.
    • (b) They must be of legal age to marry.
    • (c) They must be otherwise qualified to enter into a legal marriage, including being unmarried.
    • (d) They must have voluntarily cohabited and held themselves out to the world as being akin to spouses for a significant period of time. (see `Common Law Marriage’ in Wikipedia on Google)
    • In our opinion a `relationship in the nature of marriage’ under the 2005 Act must also fulfill the above requirements, and in addition the parties must have lived together in a `shared household’ as defined in Section 2(s) of the Act. Merely spending weekends together or a one night stand would not make it a `domestic relationship’.
  34. In our opinion not all live in relationships will amount to a relationship in the nature of marriag8e to get the benefit of the Act of 2005. To get such benefit the conditions mentioned by us above must be satisfied, and this has to be proved by evidence. If a man has a `keep’ whom he maintains financially and uses mainly for sexual purpose and/or as a servant it would not, in our opinion, be a relationship in the nature of marriage’
  35. No doubt the view we are taking would exclude many women who have had a live in relationship from the benefit of the 2005 Act, but then it is not for this Court to legislate or amend the law. Parliament has used the expression `relationship in the nature of marriage’ and not `live in relationship‘. The Court in the grab of interpretation cannot change the language of the statute.
  36. In feudal society sexual relationship between man and woman outside marriage was totally taboo and regarded with disgust and horror, as depicted in Leo Tolstoy’s novel `Anna Karenina’, Gustave Flaubert’s novel `Madame Bovary’ and the novels of the great Bengali writer Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyaya.
  37. However, Indian society is changing, and this change has been reflected and recognized by Parliament by enacting The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
  38. Coming back to the facts of the present case, we are of the opinion that the High Court and the learned Family Court Judge erred in law in holding that the appellant was not married to Lakshmi without even issuing notice to Lakshmi. Hence this finding has to be set aside and the matter remanded to the Family Court which may issue notice to Lakshmi and after hearing her give a fresh finding in accordance with law. The question whether the appellant was married to the respondent or not can, of course, be decided only after the aforesaid finding. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; https://twitter.com/ATMwithDick
  39. There is also no finding in the judgment of the learned Family Court Judge on the question whether the appellant and respondent had lived together for a reasonably long period of time in a relationship which was in the nature of marriage. In our opinion such findings were essential to decide this case. Hence we set aside the impugned judgment of the High Court and Family Court Judge, Coimbatore and remand the matter to the Family Court Judge to decide the matter afresh in accordance with law and in the light of the observations made above. Appeals allowed.

………………………………J. (MARKANDEY KATJU)

……………………………….J. (T. S. THAKUR)

NEW DELHI;

21st OCTOBER, 2010


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