AMRITA SINGH Vs. RATAN SINGH AND ANOTHER

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Date of judgment:
18/04/2017
Case Number:
CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 944 of 2017, decided on April 18, 2017
Section(s)/Rule(s)/Article(s) :
SECTION 125
Hon'ble Judges:
A.K. SIKRI, ASHOK BHUSHAN

ORDER

A.K. SIKRI, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. Marriage between appellant and Respondent no. 1 was solemnized on February 17.2006. In May 2007, one son was born out of this wedlock. It is the case of the appellant that on account of cruel conduct of Respondent No. 1 towards her, she was constrained to leave her matrimonial home along with her child on January 04, 2008 and since she was living at her parental home and no maintenance amount was paid to her by her husband, she was constrained to file a petition under Section 125 Cr.PC, claiming maintenance for herself and her minor child.

3. Both the parties led their evidence, the trial court found that Respondent no. 1 is a railway employee and is getting a salary of Rs. 16,000/- per month from the railway department. That fact is not in dispute. Keeping in view the aforesaid income of Respondent no. 1, the trial court awarded maintenance of Rs. 4,000/- for the appellant and Rs. 4,000/- for the child.

4. Respondent no. 1 challenged the aforesaid order by filling criminal revision petition in the High Court and the High Court has allowed the said petition thereby quashing the order of the trial court granting maintenance. The reason given by the High Court is that the appellant has not made out any reasonable cause for not living with Respondent no. 1. Entire discussion on this aspect is contained in two paragraphs which are reproduced below:

“5. The history of their marriage is that the petitioner submits that he was kidnapped for the purpose of marriage on a misconception that he was highly placed in the railway even though he belongs to parents, who come within the BPL category, and he himself was the 4th grade employee. Naturally, there was incompatibility between the spouses on account of wide economic difference between them. When the Opposite Party No. 2 left him, he filed an application under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act for restitution of conjugal rights. Some kind of temporary arrangement was made at the behest of the Court but to no avail. In the meanwhile, the Opposite Party No. 2 filed a case under Section 498-A Indian Penal Code in which he and his father were behind the bar for a long period.

6. It appears that the Opposite Party No. 2 has not made out any reasonable cause for not living with the petition. In such circumstances, evidently the application filed under Section 125 Cr.P.C. should not have been allowed by the Court below.”

5. Two aspects are mentioned in the afore-quoted portion, i.e., application of Respondent no. 1 under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act and filing of case by the appellant under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code. There is no discussion as to how the aforesaid two cases led to the conclusion that appellant did not have any reasonable cause for leaving Respondent no. 1. That apart, in any case it is abundantly clear from the record that the position that emerges from the aforesaid proceedings would blame Respondent no. 1 and not the appellant and the finding of the High Court is palpably erroneous.

6. It would be pertinent to note that Respondent no. 1 had, after filing the petition under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, filed another petition under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act for dissolution of marriage alleging that the appellant had deserted her without any reasonable cause and also that the appellant had treated the respondent with cruelty. In defence, the appellant had pleaded that it is she who was treated with cruelty and there was demand of dowry as well.

7. It may be mentioned that in reply filed by Respondent no. 1, he had taken the plea that his wife- appellant had deserted him without any reasonable cause and he was ready to take her back even now. The rebuttal of the appellant was that she was treated with cruelty by her in-laws and there was persistent demand of dowry and she was ousted from the matrimonial home after torturing. She had even filed criminal complaint under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code in January, 2008 in which Respondent no. 1 and his father have been found guilty and convicted for the said offence. Their appeal against the judgment of the trial court was pending before the Appellate Court. It is for this reason she had lost trust in her husband as she feared that she would be tortured again if she goes back to her matrimonial house. In essence, she pleaded that there were valid reasons for not resuming the matrimonial alliance after she was thrown out of the house. The Family Court while dismissing the petition of Respondent no. 1 under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, gave a categorical finding that it is Respondent no. 1-husband who had treated the appellant with cruelty and she was ousted from the matrimonial home. Therefore, the appellant had reasonable apprehension in not joining back the company of her husband.

8. Insofar as case under Section 498-A, IPC is concerned, as already pointed out above, Respondent-1 and his family members have been convicted by Court of Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Munger vide judgment dated July 09, 2013. No doubt, Respondent no. 1 and his family members have filed appeal there against, which is pending before the appellate court. Fact remains that as per the finding of the trial court, the allegations of appellant that there was a demand of dowry and she was subjected to cruelty at the hands of her husband, stands proved, as of now.

9. In view of the aforesaid material on record, the impugned order of the High Court does not stand judicial scrutiny which is not only cryptic but, in the teeth of the judicial findings, against Respondent no. 1.

10. In the circumstances, this appeal is allowed thereby setting aside the order of the High Court and restoring the maintenance granted by the trial court.

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For Petitioner(s)          Ms. Rashmi Nanda Kumar, Adv.

Mr. Gaurav Agrawal, AOR

For Respondent(s)

ORDER

1. Leave granted.

2. The appeal is allowed in terms of the signed order.

3. Pending applications, if any, shall stand disposed of.

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