1. The non-applicant Sheomala Devi was awarded monthly maintenance at the rate at B9. SO against her husband Ganesh Sao, the applicant, by the First Class Magistrate, Ambi- kapur, Under Section 488, Criminal F. 0., and his revision application was summarily dismissed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Ambikapur. He has now come up in revision to this Court.
2. Sheomala Devi's case was that from September or October 1947 her husband, who had a Fankin mistress also living in the house, actively disliked her, failed to provide her with food and clothes, had her beaten by a Muslim and turned her out of the house, the applicant's case was per contra that she had of her own accord left him on 7th December 1947 and taken away considerable cash and ornaments. He bad, he claimed, no objection to her residence with him, he denied that he had kept a concubine and asserted that the woman in question was a maid servant who was now in the employ of Kuber, gaontia.
3. Nagwant Sahai (A.W. a), Sub-Inspector who had made inquiries regarding the removal of cash and ornaments, found that the applicant's report was false. Qhhatan Sao (a. w. 6) and Ramanand Prasad (A. W. 6) testified to the fact that a Muslim had beaten the applicant's wife with a stick and directed her to leave the house.
4. The applicant as N.A.W. 1 repeated the allegation regarding the removal of the cash and ornaments and adhered to the stand taken by him in the written statement His two witnesses Barjan and Nagina Singh supported him, but he failed to examine Kuber, gaontia. The evidence of Barjan and Nagina Singh was not accepted by the trial Court for reasons which commended themselves to me and I have no doubt of the fact that the applicant's offer to give accommodation to his wife was disingenuous and made in order to avoid an order of maintenance against him.
5. I am in respectful agreement with the following observations of Harries C. J. in Bhagirathi v. Lakshmi Divi : AIR1940Pat242 : 41 Cr.L.J. 718:
In ft olalm for maintenance it is no defence for a husband to say that he is prepared to take his wife back if the facts show that the wife has reasonable cause for fearing to return to the husband's home. If a wife bag been ill-treated and there is ground for believing that if she returns the ill-treatment will continue, then the wife is entitled to live apart from her husband.... Clausing a wife to leave the protection of the husband by ill-treatment is tantamount to driving the wife deliberately from the home.
These observations are extremely pertinent in the present case in which it is plain that the non-applicant Sheomala Devi was subjected to maltreatment and thereby compelled to leave the applicant's house. Moreover, he had also made against her auexoeedingly grave charge of theft which, according to the investigating officer, was false. This too indicated the complete lack of regard he possessed for her and it was in line with his conduct otherwise. It would also appear that he had her beaten by his Muslim servant on one occasion in order to force her to leave the house. (His Lordship then discussed the question of quantum of maintenance. After finding that it was not unduly high he dismissed the application.)