The Himachal Pradesh High Court has observed that granting interim maintenance under Chapter IX of CrPC is like giving first aid which prevents wives and children from various modes of vagrancy and it’s consequences.
Justice Anoop Chitkara thus observed,
Granting interim maintenance is similar to giving first aid. Chapter IX of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, provides a quick remedy by a summary procedure to protect the applicant against starvation and tide over immediate difficulties by a deserted wife or children to secure some reasonable sum by way of maintenance.
The foundation of the measures of social Justice enacted by the Legislature lay beneath the sweep of Article 15 (3) of the Constitution of India. It fulfills the concept of a welfare State in a vibrant democracy by safeguarding wives and children and preventing them from the modes of vagrancy and its consequences.
A husband’s plea seeking to quash the order of Family Court, upheld by the Sessions Court, which directed him to pay monthly interim maintenance of Rs 2,000 to his wife and children.
Allegations by Wife
The petitioner’s wife had filed an application under Section 125 CrPC, seeking monthly maintenance from the petitioner-husband. In the application, she averred that they had solemnized marriage on 22.09.2000 at Bilaspur. At the time of the wedding, she was a widow with three children. On his persuasion, she agreed to marry him. In the beginning, her marital life was good, but later on, his attitude changed, which led to discord, and he even withdrew his financial support. He would spend money on liquor instead of giving it to her and her children.
Thus the woman had moved an application for maintenance under Section 125 CrPC.
Submissions by Husband
The husband filed a reply and took a specific stand that the woman who claimed to be his legally wedded wife, had played fraud upon him by preparing false documents with the connivance of the Notary Public. He stated that although the marriage is claimed to be solemnized on 22.09.2000, the certificate was allegedly obtained on 23.07.2010.
The man also claimed that the lady, in connivance with the priest of a temple, prepared false documents and affidavit. He further stated that she was still drawing benefits, which is being given to widows, and, as such, her drawing such benefits would show that she never solemnized marriage with him.
Himachal Pradesh High Court
Considering the provision and relevant judgments on the subject, the Court opined that the Proviso to Section 125 CrPC empowers the Magistrate to order monthly allowance for the interim maintenance and also the expenses of such proceeding during its pendency.
Given above, it would be appropriate for the Courts to direct the person against whom an application is made under S. 125 of the Code to pay some reasonable sum by way of maintenance to the applicant pending final disposal of the application.
It added that although the marriage has been challenged by the Petitioner as never solemnized, yet, it is subject to proof and in the instant petition, the Court is concerned with interim maintenance and nothing more.
The Court was therefore of the view that a prima facie case is made out for the wife to live separately and that she could not sustain financially.
However, the Court also clarified that the order shall not prohibit any of the parties to seek legal remedies under section 127 CrPC in accordance with law.
Accordingly, the petition was dismissed.
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