Tag Archives: Supreme court of India

HC says 60,000 p.m. while SC says 25000 P.M. is correct maintenace in VERY SAME CASE !!

Indian Men are forced to pay interim maintenance to estranged wife without ANY GUILT being proven! On top of this, there is a vide variation in what is granted by one court vs what is granted by another. In many cases Income Tax and other records are conveniently disbelieved. The claims of husbands that the wife are “employable” and have “capacity to earn” fall on deaf ears !!

And, needless to say, well educated “model” women keep earning maintenance, just because the husband and his family were successful in life !!

Sadly this husband has already deposited something like 22 Lakhs to the wife in addition to some monthly maintenance paid by him (pursuant to earlier orders)

Luckily, in this case, the Apex court DRASTICALLY REDUCED the maintenance. Please note that the husband and his family “…They are successful in their business. His mother belongs to a family of journalists and lawyers…….”


REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4615 OF 2017
(Arising out of SLP (C) No.7670 OF 2014)

 

MANISH JAIN …Appellant

Versus

AKANKSHA JAIN …Respondent

O R D E R

R. Banumathi, J.

  1. Leave granted.
  2. The present appeal has been filed by the appellant-husband against the order dated 21.02.2014 passed by the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi in C.M.(M) No.910 of 2010. In the said judgment, the High Court while setting aside the order dated 15.03.2010 passed by the Additional District Judge-II (West), Tis Hazari, Delhi who declined to award maintenance pendente lite to the respondent-wife under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 has granted interim maintenance to the respondent-wife at the rate of Rs.60,000/- per month to be paid by the appellant-husband Manish Jain with effect from 1st February, 2012 till the disposal of divorce petition. The said amount was fixed in addition to Rs.10,000/- which the appellant-husband has already been paying by way of interim maintenance as per the order passed in Criminal Appeal No.65 of 2008 under Section 23(2) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 [for short ‘the D.V. Act’].
  3. This is a case of marital discord which has a chequered history. Brief facts leading to this appeal by way of special leave are as under:- Both the appellant and the respondent got married on 16.02.2005 and they were living at V-38, Green Park, New Delhi. The couple shifted to an accommodation at 303, SFS Apartment, Hauz Khas, New Delhi on 15.04.2007. In or about July, 2007 relationship between the parties got strained. In September, 2007 the appellant-husband filed a divorce petition HMA No.553/2007 under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 [for short ‘the HM Act’] seeking divorce on the grounds of cruelty.
  4. In November, 2007 the respondent-wife filed a petition under the D.V. Act along with interim relief i.e., maintenance. She also filed a complaint on 23.11.2007 under Section 498-A and Section 406 IPC with CAW Cell, Amar Colony, Nanakpura, New Delhi against the appellant-husband and his family members which was later on registered as FIR bearing No.190 of 2008, Police Station, Friends Colony, New Delhi on 04.03.2008. In December, 2007, respondent filed yet another Complaint Case No.381 of 2008 under Section 125 Cr.P.C. before the Mahila Court, Patiala House, New Delhi. Her interim application seeking maintenance amongst other reliefs under Section 23(2) of the D.V. Act was dismissed by the Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House, New Delhi by order dated 23.04.2008 on the ground that the respondent was employed and was getting a stable income and that no document was placed on record by the respondent to show that respondent had again become jobless as the publication of the Magazine FNL had been stopped. Against the dismissal of application for maintenance, the respondent had filed appeal before Additional Sessions Judge, Patiala House in Criminal Appeal No.65 of 2008. In the said appeal and in Criminal Revision No.66 of 2008, Additional Sessions Judge, Patiala House by an order dated 01.09.2009 granted maintenance of Rs.10,000/- per month to the respondent-wife.
  5. The appellant-husband filed an application under Section 438 Cr.P.C. on 22.04.2008 for grant of bail in anticipation of his likely arrest. The High Court granted anticipatory bail to the appellant-husband subject to return of Toyota Corolla and dowry/jewellery articles to the respondent-wife within a week from the date of order till the next date of hearing which is said to have been complied with. Order was also passed directing the respondent to deposit Rs.12,00,000/- towards alleged return of dowry articles.
  6. The respondent-wife filed application under Section 24 of the HM Act claiming interim maintenance pendente lite of Rs.4,00,000/- per month and also a sum of Rs.80,000/- to meet litigation expenses during the pendency of the divorce petition. In the said application, the respondent- wife pleaded that she was having no source of income to maintain herself and that she is dependent upon others for her day to day needs and requirements. The said application was resisted by the appellant-husband contending that the respondent-wife is an educated lady and that she had completed her one year course of Fashion Designing from J.D. Institute, Hauz Khas, New Delhi and that she is capable of earning monthly salary of Rs.50,000/. The application filed under Section 24 of the HM Act was dismissed by Additional District Judge-II, Tis Hazari, Delhi by order dated 15.03.2010. Being aggrieved, the respondent-wife filed Crl. M.A. No.17724 of 2012 before the High Court, Delhi. The High Court in its order dated 08.11.2011 in C.M.(M) No.910 of 2010 filed by the wife against the order dated 15.03.2010 directed both the parties to file an affidavit truthfully disclosing their correct income. Both the husband and the wife filed an affidavit as to their income in compliance of the aforesaid order. After so directing the parties to file affidavit regarding their income and after referring to the income of appellant-husband and the properties which the appellant and his family are owning and also the standard of living of the respondent-wife which she is required to maintain, the High Court by the impugned order directed the appellant-husband to pay interim maintenance of Rs.60,000/- per month in addition to Rs.10,000/- which was directed to be paid to the respondent-wife in the proceedings under the D.V. Act.
  7. Aggrieved by the order of the High Court, the appellant-husband came in appeal before this Court by way of special leave. After giving opportunity to the parties to work out a settlement which ultimately failed, the same was dismissed on 15.04.2014. Being aggrieved by the dismissal of the above petition, a review petition was filed on 13.05.2014 in which notice was issued by this Court on 06.08.2014 and on 03.02.2016 the same was allowed and the Special Leave Petition was restored to its original number which is the subject matter before us.
  8. Learned counsel for the appellant-husband submitted that the respondent-wife has concealed her employment and independent source of income on several occasions throughout the matrimonial proceedings before the courts below and also that the High Court has committed a grave error in interfering with the well-reasoned order of the trial Court under Section 24 of the HM Act. The learned counsel for the appellant-husband submitted that the trial court after analyzing the evidence that the wife was educated, professionally qualified in the Fashion industry and had sufficient independent income rejected the application of the wife seeking maintenance under Section 24 of the HM Act. It was submitted that the High Court without proper appreciation of the income of the parties had wrongly set aside the order of the trial Court and fixed an abnormal amount of Rs.60,000/- as maintenance to the respondent-wife under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act. Learned counsel further submitted that in Criminal Appeal No.65 of 2008 under Section 23(2) of the D.V. Act, the appellant- husband is paying an interim maintenance of Rs.10,000/- per month to the respondent-wife and the appellant-husband has so far made a total payment of Rs.7,50,000/- in the proceedings under D.V. Act, apart from returning a Toyota Corolla car worth Rs.13,00,000/- besides depositing a sum of Rs.12,00,000/- and a sum of Rs.2,75,000/– towards untraced admitted dowry articles in compliance with the order passed by the Court. It was further submitted that the appellant-husband’s firms/companies have been either shut down due to heavy loss and/or under the stage of winding up and the appellant-husband is not in a position to pay the exorbitant amount of Rs.60,000/- per month as maintenance pendente lite to the respondent-wife.
  9. Learned counsel for the respondent-wife at the outset submitted that the principle of providing maintenance is to ensure the living conditions of respondent-wife similar to that of appellant-husband whereas in the present case the respondent-wife is yet to receive any money.
  10. We have heard the matter at considerable length. Parties are entangled in several rounds of litigation making allegations and counter allegations against each other. Since various proceedings are pending between the parties, we are not inclined to go into the merits of the rival contentions advanced by the parties. The only question falling for consideration is whether the respondent-wife is entitled to maintenance pendente lite and whether the amount of Rs.60,000/- awarded by the High Court is on the higher side.
  11. The Court exercises a wide discretion in the matter of granting alimony pendente lite but the discretion is judicial and neither arbitrary nor capricious. It is to be guided, on sound principles of matrimonial law and to be exercised within the ambit of the provisions of the Act and having regard to the object of the Act. The Court would not be in a position to judge the merits of the rival contentions of the parties when deciding an application for interim alimony and would not allow its discretion to be fettered by the nature of the allegations made by them and would not examine the merits of the case. Section 24 of the HM Act lays down that in arriving at the quantum of interim maintenance to be paid by one spouse to another, the Court must have regard to the appellant’s own income and the income of the respondent.
  12. At the time of filing application under Section 24 of the HM Act in December, 2007, the respondent-wife was doing her internship in fashion designing in J.D. Institute of Fashion Technology and just completed the course and was not employed at that time. Only in the month of May, 2008, she became a trainee and joined FNL Magazine of Images Group as Junior Fashion Stylist and was earning an approximate/stipend income of Rs.21,315/- per month and due to recession, the same is said to have been reduced to Rs.16,315/- for three months that is July, August and September in the year 2009. It is stated that thereafter the respondent-wife has become jobless and associated with Cosmopolitan Magazine and according to the respondent- wife, she was working as a Stylist and is paid nominal amount of Rs.4,500/- per shoot and the said amount is inclusive of expenses like travelling etc. On a perusal of the judgment of the High Court and also the affidavit of the respondent-wife, it is clear that the respondent-wife has no permanent source of employment and no permanent source of income.
  13. Appellant-husband is stated to be a partner in the firms of his family business. It is also stated that the appellant-husband and his family own several valuable properties and has flourishing business. Insofar as the properties/income of appellant-husband, the High Court has made the following observations:-“38. From the pleading of the respondent before other Courts, it has come on record that the respondent’s family is having successful and flourishing business of electrical and non-ferrous metals for the last 22 years. They are successful in their business. His mother belongs to a family of journalists and lawyers….39. From the material placed on record by the petitioner, prima facie it appears to the Court that even the respondent has not made full disclosure about his income and correct status of the family in the affidavits filed by him. The statements made by him are contrary to the statement made in the bail application. Prima facie, it appears to the Court that the respondent is hiding his income by trying to show himself as a pauper, however, the documents placed on record speak differently. At the same time the family members have a reasonably flourishing business and many properties as admitted by him. It has now become a matter of routine that as and when an application for maintenance is filed, the non-applicant becomes poor displaying that he is not residing with the family members if they have a good business and movable and immovable properties in order to avoid payment of maintenance. Courts cannot under these circumstances close their eyes when tricks are being played in a clever manner.” 
  14. Section 24 of the HM Act empowers the Court in any proceeding under the Act, if it appears to the Court that either the wife or the husband, as the case may be, has no independent income sufficient for her or his support and the necessary expenses of the proceeding, it may, on the application of any one of them order the other party to pay to the petitioner the expenses of the proceeding and monthly maintenance as may seem to be reasonable during the proceeding, having regard to also the income of both the applicant and the respondent. Heading of Section 24 of the Act is “Maintenance pendente lite and expenses of proceedings”. The Section, however, does not use the word “maintenance”; but the word “support” can be interpreted to mean as Section 24 is intended to provide for maintenance pendente lite.
  15. An order for maintenance pendente lite or for costs of the proceedings is conditional on the circumstance that the wife or husband who makes a claim for the same has no independent income sufficient for her or his support or to meet the necessary expenses of the proceeding. It is no answer to a claim of maintenance that the wife is educated and could support herself. Likewise, the financial position of the wife’s parents is also immaterial. The Court must take into consideration the status of the parties and the capacity of the spouse to pay maintenance and whether the applicant has any independent income sufficient for her or his support. Maintenance is always dependent upon factual situation; the Court should, therefore, mould the claim for maintenance determining the quantum based on various factors brought before the Court.
  16. In the present case, at the time of claiming maintenance pendente lite when the respondent-wife had no sufficient income capable of supporting herself, the High Court was justified in ordering maintenance. However, in our view, the maintenance amount of Rs.60,000/- ordered by the High Court (in addition to Rs.10,000/- paid under the proceedings of the D.V. Act) appears to be on the higher side and in the interest of justice, the same is reduced to Rs.25,000/- per month. The maintenance pendente lite of Rs.25,000/- is to be paid to the respondent-wife by the appellant- husband (in addition to Rs.10,000/- paid under the proceedings of the D.V. Act).
  17. The order impugned herein is set aside and the appeal is allowed. The amount of Rs.60,000/- awarded as maintenance pendente lite is reduced to Rs.25,000/- per month which is in addition to Rs.10,000/- paid under the proceedings of the D.V. Act. The appellant-husband is directed to pay the arrears w.e.f. 01.02.2012 till the disposal of the divorce petition, within four weeks from today. The appellant-husband shall continue to pay Rs.25,000/- per month in addition to Rs.10,000/- paid under the proceedings of the D.V. Act on or before 10th of every English calendar month till the disposal of the divorce petition. If the appellant-husband has paid or deposited any amount of maintenance pursuant to the order of the High Court dated 21.02.2014, the same shall be set-off against the arrears to be paid by the appellant-husband. The respondent-wife is at liberty to withdraw the amount, if any, deposited by the appellant-husband pursuant to the order dated 21.02.2014. We make it clear that we have not expressed any opinion on the merits of the matter. In case the appellant-husband does not comply with the order, as above, including for payment of arrears, he would be visited with all consequences including action for contempt of Court.

………………………….J. [KURIAN JOSEPH]

.………………………..J. [R. BANUMATHI]

New Delhi;

March 30, 2017

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#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’ //////////

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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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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


A #criminal #case, an #abuse of #process of #law 2 implicate accused after 12 years, quashed by SC !

Husbands often seek good quash cases. While it is nice to have 498a quash cases, it is also necessary to understand how various courts approach a quash and how sometimes one has to go up to Apex court to get results

Here is a good case that discusses the facts of the complaint and also various cornerstone cases, before quashing a criminal case, an abuse of the process of law
////////////////17. In view of the above discussion and facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the view that none of the offences for which the appellants are summoned, is made out from the complaint and material on record. We further find that it is nothing but abuse of process of law on the part of the complainant to implicate the appellants in a criminal case after a period of twelve years of execution of registered sale deeds in question, who is neither party to the sale deeds nor a member of the Society. Therefore, we allow the appeal and set aside the orders passed by the High Court and that of the courts below. Accordingly, the order passed by the Magistrate summoning the appellants in the criminal complaint filed by respondent No. 1, in respect of offences punishable under Sections 406, 409 and 420 IPC, also stands quashed.//////////

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Reportable

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.953 OF 2015

(@ Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No. 330 of 2015)

Mr. Robert John D’Souza and others… Appellants

Versus

Mr. Stephen V. Gomes and another… Respondents

J U D G M E N T

Prafulla C. Pant, J.

  1. This appeal is directed against order dated 9.10.2014, passed by the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore in Criminal Petition No. 658 of 2014 whereby said court has dismissed the petition, and declined to quash the Criminal Complaint case No. 357 of 2012, filed by respondent No. 1, against the appellants.
  2. Brief facts of the case are that a Society named – Mukka Welfare Society was constituted on 28.3.1970 for charitable work and social service, registered under Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1970. Appellant No. 1, appellant No. 2 and appellant No. 3 were President, Secretary and Treasurer respectively, while appellant Nos. 4 to 7 were Directors of the Society. Other appellants are their relatives. A piece of land bearing S. No. 239/10 measuring 0.50 acres in Village Suratkal, Taluk Mangalore, was purchased by the Society vide registered sale deed dated 28.1.1978 from one Smt. Kaveri Hengsu. It is alleged by the complainant (respondent No. 1) that appellant Nos. 1 to 7, being members of the Executive and Directors of Mukka Welfare Society, misusing the position, held Board Meetings on 22.9.1995 and 13.10.1995 facilitating the sale of the above mentioned land in favour of their relatives (appellant Nos. 7 to 12). The sale deeds were executed on 16.2.1996. It is further stated that the purchasers (appellant Nos. 7 to 12), executed sale deeds in the same year in favour of the Directors of the Society. It is alleged by the complainant/respondent No.1 that the appellants have fraudulently usurped the property through the sale deeds mentioned above, and thereby committed cheating.

  3. The criminal complaint filed by respondent No. 1 was registered by the 1 st Additional Senior Civil Judge and Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mangalore, DK, who, after recording the statement of the complainant under Section 200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (for short “CrPC”), summoned the appellants vide order dated 13.4.2012 in respect of offences punishable under Sections 406, 409, 420 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code (IPC). The appellants filed Criminal Revision Petition No. 58 of 2012 before the Principal Sessions & District Judge of D.K. District at Mangalore, which was dismissed vide order dated 6.2.2013. Thereafter, the appellants filed a petition under Section 482 CrPC before the High Court and the same was also dismissed. Hence this appeal through special leave.

  4. We have heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the papers on record.

  5. The impugned orders passed by the High Court and the other authorities below are challenged before us mainly on the following grounds: – (i) Respondent No. 1/complainant is not a member of the “Mukka Welfare Society” nor is he in any manner connected with the affairs of the Society, as such he has no locus to file the criminal complaint. (ii) The sale deeds in question were executed in the year 1996, and the criminal complaint is filed malafide by respondent No. 1 after a period of fourteen years, in the year 2010, as such the courts below have erred in law in not taking note of said fact. (iii) The courts below have erred in law in not appreciating that the complaint in question was filed to get personal vendetta by respondent No. 1 against the Directors of the Society. (iv) The courts below further erred in not considering the fact that the complainant/respondent No. 1 had earlier filed a complaint, with same set of facts, before the Deputy Commissioner, Dakshin Kannada, Mangalore, and the same was sent to Police Station Suratkal for investigation, and the Circle Inspector, after investigation, did not find any offence to have been committed by the appellants, as the dispute was purely of civil in nature. (v) Ingredients of the offences punishable under Sections 406, 409 and 420 IPC are not made out. (vi) None of the transactions of sale in question is against any bye-law or clause of Memorandum of Association of the Society.

  6. In the counter affidavit filed on behalf of respondent No.1, it has been stated that the complainant came to know of the transactions of sale, only in the year 2009, whereafter he complained before the Deputy Commissioner, D.K., as such the issue raised as to delay in filing the complaint is unfounded. It is further stated that the Mukka Welfare Society receives donations from various institutions and general public. The allegation of personal vendetta, pleaded in the appeal by the appellants, has been denied in the counter affidavit. Lastly, defending the orders passed by the courts below, it is stated that the courts below have committed no error of law.

  7. Arguments were advanced by learned counsel for the parties on the above lines pleaded before us. Having considered the submissions of the learned counsel for the parties what is apparent in the present case is that the complainant is not the member of Mukka Welfare Society. It is also not disputed that the sale deeds in question were executed way back in the year 1996 and the complainant, who is not even member of the Society, raises the issue that the sale deeds were executed for the benefit of the Directors of the Society, after a long gap of more than twelve years. Sale deeds in question are registered, and not declared null and void by any court of law. It is also relevant to mention here that admittedly earlier a complaint was made by the complainant to the Deputy Commissioner in the year 2009, which was got investigated by the police and the result of the investigation was that no offence was found committed by the appellants on the ground that the dispute is of civil in nature.

  8. In view of the above facts, apparent on the record, we are of the view that the High Court and the courts below have committed grave error of law in ignoring the same. Needless to say that to constitute an offence punishable under Section 406 IPC, the essential ingredient is the “entrustment” of the property. The complaint filed by the complainant nowhere discloses that the land in question purchased in the year 1978 was entrusted to the Society for the benefit of others. It is only after entrustment is shown, it can be said that there was criminal breach of trust.

  9. In Ram Narayan Popli v. Central Bureau of Investigation 1, this Court, per majority, has explained “entrustment” in paragraph 363 as under: –“ The term “entrustment” is not necessarily a term of law. It may have different implications in different contexts. In its most general signification all it imports is the handing over possession for some purpose which may not imply the conferring of any proprietary right at all.”

  10. In State of Gujarat v. Jaswantlal Nathalal 2, this Court in paragraph 8 has observed that a mere transaction of sale cannot amount to an entrustment.

  11. At this stage we also think it proper to observe that in the present case, even if the allegations made in the complaint are taken to be true, the ingredients of the offence punishable under Section 409 IPC for which appellants are summoned, are also not made out. To constitute an offence punishable under Section 409 IPC, apart from entrustment, it is also essential requirement that it should be shown that the accused has acted in the capacity of a public servant, banker, merchant, factor, broker, attorney or agent. It is nowhere shown in the complaint that the appellants have acted in any of the above capacities.

  12. As far as offence of cheating is concerned, the same is defined in Section 415 IPC, for which the punishment is provided under Section 420 IPC. Section 415 reads as under:-“ 415. Cheating. – Whoever, by deceiving any person, fraudulently or dishonestly induces the person so deceived to deliver any property to any person, or to consent that any person shall retain any property, or intentionally induces the person so deceived to do or omit to do anything which he would not do or omit if he were not so deceived, and which act or omission causes or is likely to cause damage or harm to that person in body, mind, reputation or property, is said to “cheat”. Explanation. – A dishonest concealment of facts is a deception within the meaning of this section. Illustrations……………”

  13. From the above language of the Section, one of the essential ingredients for the offence of cheating is deception, but in the present case, from the contents of the complaint it nowhere reflects that the complainant was deceived or he or anyone else was induced to deliver the property by deception. What was done, was so reflected in the resolutions, and sale deeds.

  14. In Mathavrao Jiwajirao Scindia and others v. Sambhajirao Chandrojirao Angre and others 3, a three-Judge Bench of this Court has laid down the law as to quashment of proceedings under Section 482 CrPC as follows:-“ 7. The legal position is well settled that when a prosecution at the initial stage is asked to be quashed, the test to be applied by the court is as to whether the uncontroverted allegations as made prima facie establish the offence. It is also for the court to take into consideration any special features which appear in a particular case to consider whether it is expedient and in the interest of justice to permit a prosecution to continue. This is so on the basis that the court cannot be utilised for any oblique purpose and where in the opinion of the court chances of an ultimate conviction is bleak and, therefore, no useful purpose is likely to be served by allowing a criminal prosecution to continue, the court may while taking into consideration the special facts of a case also quash the proceeding even though it may be at a preliminary stage.”

  15. In Suresh v. Mahadevappa Shivappa Danannava and another 4, criminal prosecution was quashed by the Court in respect offence of cheating noticing that the complaint was filed after a lapse of ten years.

  16. In Inder Mohan Goswami and another v. State of Uttaranchal and others 5, this Court in paragraphs 25 and 46 has observed as under: –“ 25. Reference to the following cases would reveal that the courts have consistently taken the view that they must use this extraordinary power to prevent injustice and secure the ends of justice. The English courts have also used inherent power to achieve the same objective. It is generally agreed that the Crown Court has inherent power to protect its process from abuse. In Connelly v. DPP (1964 AC 1254) Lord Devlin stated that where particular criminal proceedings constitute an abuse of process, the court is empowered to refuse to allow the indictment to proceed to trial. Lord Salmon in DPP v. Humphrys (1977 AC 1) stressed the importance of the inherent power when he observed that it is only if the prosecution amounts to an abuse of the process of the court and is oppressive and vexatious that the judge has the power to intervene. He further mentioned that the court’s power to prevent such abuse is of great constitutional importance and should be jealously preserved. xxx xxx xxx 46. The court must ensure that criminal prosecution is not used as an instrument of harassment or for seeking private vendetta or with an ulterior motive to pressurise the accused. On analysis of the aforementioned cases, we are of the opinion that it is neither possible nor desirable to lay down an inflexible rule that would govern the exercise of inherent jurisdiction. Inherent jurisdiction of the High Courts under Section 482 CrPC though wide has to be exercised sparingly, carefully and with caution and only when it is justified by the tests specifically laid down in the statute itself and in the aforementioned cases. In view of the settled legal position, the impugned judgment cannot be sustained.”

  17. In view of the above discussion and facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the view that none of the offences for which the appellants are summoned, is made out from the complaint and material on record. We further find that it is nothing but abuse of process of law on the part of the complainant to implicate the appellants in a criminal case after a period of twelve years of execution of registered sale deeds in question, who is neither party to the sale deeds nor a member of the Society. Therefore, we allow the appeal and set aside the orders passed by the High Court and that of the courts below. Accordingly, the order passed by the Magistrate summoning the appellants in the criminal complaint filed by respondent No. 1, in respect of offences punishable under Sections 406, 409 and 420 IPC, also stands quashed.

………………

……………..J. [Dipak Misra]

……………………………..J. [Prafulla C. Pant]

New Delhi;

July 21, 2015.

1 (2003) 3 SCC 641

2 AIR 1968 SC 700

3 (1988) 1 SCC 692

4 (2005) 3 SCC 670

5 (2007) 12 SCC 1

#Journo & #Lawyer’s son case. #SC reduces #maintenance from 60K to 25K p.m. though #husband family big #bizmen !!

#Journalist & #Lawyer woman’s son is in #matrimonial case with his wife. #Parties have filed #multiple #cases against each other. #HC has #awarded maintenance pendente lite of #Rs60,000 p.m. considering the status of parties … However SC reduces maint from Rs60,000 p.m. to #Rs25,000 p.m. though husband is supposed to be a big businessman (partner in a family business ) !!!

This is from the Honourable HC which awarded Rs 60,000 p.m.
/////13. Appellant-husband is stated to be a partner in the firms of his family business. It is also stated that the appellant-husband and his family own several valuable properties and has flourishing business. Insofar as the properties/income of appellant-husband, the High Court has made the following observations:- “38. From the pleading of the respondent before other Courts, it has come on record that the respondent’s family is having successful and flourishing business of electrical and non-ferrous metals for the last 22 years. They are successful in their business. His mother belongs to a family of journalists and lawyers…. 39. From the material placed on record by the petitioner, prima facie it appears to the Court that even the respondent has not made full disclosure about his income and correct status of the family in the affidavits filed by him. The statements made by him are contrary to the statement made in the bail application. Prima facie, it appears to the Court that the respondent is hiding his income by trying to show himself as a pauper, however, the documents placed on record speak differently. At the same time the family members have a reasonably flourishing business and many properties as admitted by him. It has now become a matter of routine that as and when an application for maintenance is filed, the non-applicant becomes poor displaying that he is not residing with the family members if they have a good business and movable and immovable properties in order to avoid payment of maintenance. Courts cannot under these circumstances close their eyes when tricks are being played in a clever manner.” ////////

However Honourable SC says //////16. In the present case, at the time of claiming maintenance pendente lite when the respondent-wife had no sufficient income capable of supporting herself, the High Court was justified in ordering maintenance. However, in our view, the maintenance amount of Rs.60,000/- ordered by the High Court (in addition to Rs.10,000/- paid under the proceedings of the D.V. Act) appears to be on the higher side and in the interest of justice, the same is reduced to Rs.25,000/- per month. ////// !!!!!!!!!

==================================

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4615  OF 2017

(Arising out of SLP (C) No.7670 OF 2014)

MANISH JAIN                                         …Appellant

Versus

AKANKSHA JAIN                                   …Respondent

O R D E R

R. Banumathi, J.

 

  1. Leave granted.
  2. The present appeal has been filed by the appellant-husband against the order dated 21.02.2014 passed by the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi in C.M.(M) No.910 of 2010. In the said judgment, the High Court while setting aside the order dated 15.03.2010 passed by the Additional District Judge-II (West), Tis Hazari, Delhi who declined to award maintenance pendente lite to the respondent-wife under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 has granted interim maintenance to the respondent-wife at the rate of Rs.60,000/- per month to be paid by the appellant-husband Manish Jain with effect from 1st February, 2012 till the disposal of divorce petition. The said amount was fixed in addition to Rs.10,000/- which the appellant-husband has already been paying by way of interim maintenance as per the order passed in Criminal Appeal No.65 of 2008 under Section 23(2) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 [for short ‘the D.V. Act’].
  3. This is a case of marital discord which has a chequered history. Brief facts leading to this appeal by way of special leave are as under:- Both the appellant and the respondent got married on 16.02.2005 and they were living at V-38, Green Park, New Delhi. The couple shifted to an accommodation at 303, SFS Apartment, Hauz Khas, New Delhi on 15.04.2007. In or about July, 2007 relationship between the parties got strained. In September, 2007 the appellant-husband filed a divorce petition HMA No.553/2007 under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 [for short ‘the HM Act’] seeking divorce on the grounds of cruelty.
  4. In November, 2007 the respondent-wife filed a petition under the D.V. Act along with interim relief i.e., maintenance. She also filed a complaint on 23.11.2007 under Section 498-A and Section 406 IPC with CAW Cell, Amar Colony, Nanakpura, New Delhi against the appellant-husband and his family members which was later on registered as FIR bearing No.190 of 2008, Police Station, Friends Colony, New Delhi on 04.03.2008. In December, 2007, respondent filed yet another Complaint Case No.381 of 2008 under Section 125 Cr.P.C. before the Mahila Court, Patiala House, New Delhi. Her interim application seeking maintenance amongst other reliefs under Section 23(2) of the D.V. Act was dismissed by the Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House, New Delhi by order dated 23.04.2008 on the ground that the respondent was employed and was getting a stable income and that no document was placed on record by the respondent to show that respondent had again become jobless as the publication of the Magazine FNL had been stopped. Against the dismissal of application for maintenance, the respondent had filed appeal before Additional Sessions Judge, Patiala House in Criminal Appeal No.65 of 2008. In the said appeal and in Criminal Revision No.66 of 2008, Additional Sessions Judge, Patiala House by an order dated 01.09.2009 granted maintenance of Rs.10,000/- per month to the respondent-wife.
  5. The appellant-husband filed an application under Section 438 Cr.P.C. on 22.04.2008 for grant of bail in anticipation of his likely arrest. The High Court granted anticipatory bail to the appellant-husband subject to return of Toyota Corolla and dowry/jewellery articles to the respondent-wife within a week from the date of order till the next date of hearing which is said to have been complied with. Order was also passed directing the respondent to deposit Rs.12,00,000/- towards alleged return of dowry articles.
  6. The respondent-wife filed application under Section 24 of the HM Act claiming interim maintenance pendente lite of Rs.4,00,000/- per month and also a sum of Rs.80,000/- to meet litigation expenses during the pendency of the divorce petition. In the said application, the respondent- wife pleaded that she was having no source of income to maintain herself and that she is dependent upon others for her day to day needs and requirements. The said application was resisted by the appellant-husband contending that the respondent-wife is an educated lady and that she had completed her one year course of Fashion Designing from J.D. Institute, Hauz Khas, New Delhi and that she is capable of earning monthly salary of Rs.50,000/. The application filed under Section 24 of the HM Act was dismissed by Additional District Judge-II, Tis Hazari, Delhi by order dated 15.03.2010. Being aggrieved, the respondent-wife filed Crl. M.A. No.17724 of 2012 before the High Court, Delhi. The High Court in its order dated 08.11.2011 in C.M.(M) No.910 of 2010 filed by the wife against the order dated 15.03.2010 directed both the parties to file an affidavit truthfully disclosing their correct income. Both the husband and the wife filed an affidavit as to their income in compliance of the aforesaid order. After so directing the parties to file affidavit regarding their income and after referring to the income of appellant-husband and the properties which the appellant and his family are owning and also the standard of living of the respondent-wife which she is required to maintain, the High Court by the impugned order directed the appellant-husband to pay interim maintenance of Rs.60,000/- per month in addition to Rs.10,000/- which was directed to be paid to the respondent-wife in the proceedings under the D.V. Act.
  7. Aggrieved by the order of the High Court, the appellant-husband came in appeal before this Court by way of special leave. After giving opportunity to the parties to work out a settlement which ultimately failed, the same was dismissed on 15.04.2014. Being aggrieved by the dismissal of the above petition, a review petition was filed on 13.05.2014 in which notice was issued by this Court on 06.08.2014 and on 03.02.2016 the same was allowed and the Special Leave Petition was restored to its original number which is the subject matter before us.
  8. Learned counsel for the appellant-husband submitted that the respondent-wife has concealed her employment and independent source of income on several occasions throughout the matrimonial proceedings before the courts below and also that the High Court has committed a grave error in interfering with the well-reasoned order of the trial Court under Section 24 of the HM Act. The learned counsel for the appellant-husband submitted that the trial court after analyzing the evidence that the wife was educated, professionally qualified in the Fashion industry and had sufficient independent income rejected the application of the wife seeking maintenance under Section 24 of the HM Act. It was submitted that the High Court without proper appreciation of the income of the parties had wrongly set aside the order of the trial Court and fixed an abnormal amount of Rs.60,000/- as maintenance to the respondent-wife under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act. Learned counsel further submitted that in Criminal Appeal No.65 of 2008 under Section 23(2) of the D.V. Act, the appellant- husband is paying an interim maintenance of Rs.10,000/- per month to the respondent-wife and the appellant-husband has so far made a total payment of Rs.7,50,000/- in the proceedings under D.V. Act, apart from returning a Toyota Corolla car worth Rs.13,00,000/- besides depositing a sum of Rs.12,00,000/- and a sum of Rs.2,75,000/- towards untraced admitted dowry articles in compliance with the order passed by the Court. It was further submitted that the appellant-husband’s firms/companies have been either shut down due to heavy loss and/or under the stage of winding up and the appellant-husband is not in a position to pay the exorbitant amount of Rs.60,000/- per month as maintenance pendente lite to the respondent-wife.
  9. Learned counsel for the respondent-wife at the outset submitted that the principle of providing maintenance is to ensure the living conditions of respondent-wife similar to that of appellant-husband whereas in the present case the respondent-wife is yet to receive any money.
  10. We have heard the matter at considerable length. Parties are entangled in several rounds of litigation making allegations and counter allegations against each other. Since various proceedings are pending between the parties, we are not inclined to go into the merits of the rival contentions advanced by the parties. The only question falling for consideration is whether the respondent-wife is entitled to maintenance pendente lite and whether the amount of Rs.60,000/- awarded by the High Court is on the higher side.
  11. The Court exercises a wide discretion in the matter of granting alimony pendente lite but the discretion is judicial and neither arbitrary nor capricious. It is to be guided, on sound principles of matrimonial law and to be exercised within the ambit of the provisions of the Act and having regard to the object of the Act. The Court would not be in a position to judge the merits of the rival contentions of the parties when deciding an application for interim alimony and would not allow its discretion to be fettered by the nature of the allegations made by them and would not examine the merits of the case. Section 24 of the HM Act lays down that in arriving at the quantum of interim maintenance to be paid by one spouse to another, the Court must have regard to the appellant’s own income and the income of the respondent.
  12. At the time of filing application under Section 24 of the HM Act in December, 2007, the respondent-wife was doing her internship in fashion designing in J.D. Institute of Fashion Technology and just completed the course and was not employed at that time. Only in the month of May, 2008, she became a trainee and joined FNL Magazine of Images Group as Junior Fashion Stylist and was earning an approximate/stipend income of Rs.21,315/- per month and due to recession, the same is said to have been reduced to Rs.16,315/- for three months that is July, August and September in the year 2009. It is stated that thereafter the respondent-wife has become jobless and associated with Cosmopolitan Magazine and according to the respondent- wife, she was working as a Stylist and is paid nominal amount of Rs.4,500/- per shoot and the said amount is inclusive of expenses like travelling etc. On a perusal of the judgment of the High Court and also the affidavit of the respondent-wife, it is clear that the respondent-wife has no permanent source of employment and no permanent source of income.
  13. Appellant-husband is stated to be a partner in the firms of his family business. It is also stated that the appellant-husband and his family own several valuable properties and has flourishing business. Insofar as the properties/income of appellant-husband, the High Court has made the following observations:- “38. From the pleading of the respondent before other Courts, it has come on record that the respondent’s family is having successful and flourishing business of electrical and non-ferrous metals for the last 22 years. They are successful in their business. His mother belongs to a family of journalists and lawyers…. 39. From the material placed on record by the petitioner, prima facie it appears to the Court that even the respondent has not made full disclosure about his income and correct status of the family in the affidavits filed by him. The statements made by him are contrary to the statement made in the bail application. Prima facie, it appears to the Court that the respondent is hiding his income by trying to show himself as a pauper, however, the documents placed on record speak differently. At the same time the family members have a reasonably flourishing business and many properties as admitted by him. It has now become a matter of routine that as and when an application for maintenance is filed, the non-applicant becomes poor displaying that he is not residing with the family members if they have a good business and movable and immovable properties in order to avoid payment of maintenance. Courts cannot under these circumstances close their eyes when tricks are being played in a clever manner.” 
  14. Section 24 of the HM Act empowers the Court in any proceeding under the Act, if it appears to the Court that either the wife or the husband, as the case may be, has no independent income sufficient for her or his support and the necessary expenses of the proceeding, it may, on the application of any one of them order the other party to pay to the petitioner the expenses of the proceeding and monthly maintenance as may seem to be reasonable during the proceeding, having regard to also the income of both the applicant and the respondent. Heading of Section 24 of the Act is “Maintenance pendente lite and expenses of proceedings”. The Section, however, does not use the word “maintenance”; but the word “support” can be interpreted to mean as Section 24 is intended to provide for maintenance pendente lite.
  15. An order for maintenance pendente lite or for costs of the proceedings is conditional on the circumstance that the wife or husband who makes a claim for the same has no independent income sufficient for her or his support or to meet the necessary expenses of the proceeding. It is no answer to a claim of maintenance that the wife is educated and could support herself. Likewise, the financial position of the wife’s parents is also immaterial. The Court must take into consideration the status of the parties and the capacity of the spouse to pay maintenance and whether the applicant has any independent income sufficient for her or his support. Maintenance is always dependent upon factual situation; the Court should, therefore, mould the claim for maintenance determining the quantum based on various factors brought before the Court.
  16. In the present case, at the time of claiming maintenance pendente lite when the respondent-wife had no sufficient income capable of supporting herself, the High Court was justified in ordering maintenance. However, in our view, the maintenance amount of Rs.60,000/- ordered by the High Court (in addition to Rs.10,000/- paid under the proceedings of the D.V. Act) appears to be on the higher side and in the interest of justice, the same is reduced to Rs.25,000/- per month. The maintenance pendente lite of Rs.25,000/- is to be paid to the respondent-wife by the appellant- husband (in addition to Rs.10,000/- paid under the proceedings of the D.V. Act).
  17. The order impugned herein is set aside and the appeal is allowed. The amount of Rs.60,000/- awarded as maintenance pendente lite is reduced to Rs.25,000/- per month which is in addition to Rs.10,000/- paid under the proceedings of the D.V. Act. The appellant-husband is directed to pay the arrears w.e.f. 01.02.2012 till the disposal of the divorce petition, within four weeks from today. The appellant-husband shall continue to pay Rs.25,000/- per month in addition to Rs.10,000/- paid under the proceedings of the D.V. Act on or before 10th of every English calendar month till the disposal of the divorce petition. If the appellant-husband has paid or deposited any amount of maintenance pursuant to the order of the High Court dated 21.02.2014, the same shall be set-off against the arrears to be paid by the appellant-husband. The respondent-wife is at liberty to withdraw the amount, if any, deposited by the appellant-husband pursuant to the order dated 21.02.2014. We make it clear that we have not expressed any opinion on the merits of the matter. In case the appellant-husband does not comply with the order, as above, including for payment of arrears, he would be visited with all consequences including action for contempt of Court.

    ………………………….J. [KURIAN JOSEPH]

    .………………………..J. [R. BANUMATHI]

    New Delhi;

    March 30, 2017