1. This petition raises the question whether the learned District Judge of Delhi was Justified in directing the husband to pay a sum of Rs.1000 to his wife in order to meet the expenses ofthe suit nrpigjt by him for the dissolution of hismarriage with his wife.
2. The marriage took place in the year 1945 but does not appear to have been a happy one for in the year 1950 the husband tiled a suit for the restitution of conjugal rights against the wife and the wife brought a suit tor maintenance against the husband. The husband is said to have paid a certain sum of money to the wife as a result of those proceedings.
3. On 30-8-1955 the husband presented ft petition under Sections 10 and 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, for the dissolution of his marriage with his wife. During the proceedings in that case the wife presented an application under Section 24 of the Act of 1955 in which she requested the learned District Judge to direct the husband to pay her ft certain sum of money to enable her to meet the expenses which she was likely to incur in connection with the litigation.
The learned District Judge acceded to her request and directed the husband to pay her a sum of Rs. 1000/-. The husband is dissatisfied with the order and has come to this Court in revision.
4. Section 24 of the Act of 1955 is in the following terms :
'Where in any proceeding under this Act it appears to the Court that either the wife or the huband 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 the wife or the husband, order the respondent to pay to the petitioner the expenses of the proceeding, and monthly during the proceeding such a sum as. having regard to the petitioner's own income and the income of the respondent, it may seem to the Court to be reasonable.'
5. Mr. Charanjit Lal, who appears for the husband, contends that as the husband is the petitioner in the original petition for dissolution of marriage the learned District Judge was in error in directing him to pay the expenses of the respondent, for Section 24 of the statute reproduced above declares that the respondent alone can be required to pay the expenses of the petitioner and not Vice versa. This contention is, in my opinion, wholly devoid of force. The Legislature has stated quite clearly that the Court may 'on the application of the wife or the husband order the respondent to pay to the petitioner the expenses of the proceeding.'
The obvious meaning of this provision of law is that if the wife makes an application under 8. 24 of the Act of 1955, the Court is at liberty to direct the husband to pay the expenses of the proceeding: and if the husband makes an application under the said section the Court is at liberty to direct the wife to' pay such expenses. The expressions 'petitioner' and 'respondent' appearing' in this section refer clearly to the petitioner and the respondent in the application under Section 24. Any other construction would lead to strange and anomalous results. The husband has presented a petition for the dissolution of his marriage with his wife and the wife has made an application under Section 24 that she should be allowed reasonable expenses for defending herself. It Is only reasonable that the husband who is respondent to the application under S, 24 and who is a man ofmeans should pay her the said expenses. I woulduphold the order of the learned District Judge anddismiss the petition with costs. Ordered accordingly.