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Chander Parkash Vs. Premlata and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revision Appeal No. 364 of 1971
Judge
Reported in1971RLR121
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Sections 488
AppellantChander Parkash
RespondentPremlata and ors.
Advocates: Harjinder Singh and; M.L. Chug, Advs
Cases ReferredM. Ponnambolam v. Swaswalhi
Excerpt:
.....and rs. 300 respectively - husband directed to pay rs. 50 per month to two children living with wife - husband left with rs. 250 per month whereas wife getting rs. 292 per month - to award rs. 50 per month to wife as maintenance allowance nto judicial exercise of discretion - part of impugned order of magistrate awarding rs. 50 per month to wife for maintenance set aside. - - (6) it is now well settled that section on 488 of the cede of criminal procedure provides a cheap and speedy remedy for the giant of maintenance to the wife where the husband having sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain her. while deciding the question of maintenance the magistrate is nto to take into consideration the rights which may have been conferred on the parties under the civil law the..........had an income of rs. 300.00 per month only out of which he has been directed to pay rs. 50.00 per month to the two children living with the wife. thus. the 'husband is left with rs. 250.00 per month only whereas the wife will 'keep on getting rs. 292.00 per month. in these circumstances, to award rs. 50.00 per month to the wife as maintenance allowance cannto be said to be a judicial exercise of the discretion. this part of the impugned order of the magistrate awarding rs. 50.00 per month to the wife for maintenance must be quaslied and set aside.(9) the recommendation is, thereforee, accepted and the aforesaid part of the impugned order is hereby quashed and set aside.
Judgment:

V.D. Misra, J.

(1) Additional Session Judge has made a recommendation for quashing the order of the trial Magistrate granting maintenance allowance of Rs. 50.00 per month to the respondent-wife in the following circumstances

(2) Chander Parkash, petitioner, married Prem Lata, respondent in October 1956. They had two issues, Anil Kumar a son, and Sushma Rani a daughter. Sometime in 1965 the parties started living separately. The respondent alleged that she was deserted and maltreated and for that reason she could nto live with the petitioner. On 25th February, 1969, the wife for herself and on behalf of the minor children claimed maintenance from the petitioner under Section 488 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

(3) The Magistrate found that the husband was getting Rs. 300.00 per month while the wife was getting Rs. 1,921.00 per month (wrongly stated as Rs. 212.00 per month in the order of reference) as pay. buth of them are employed as telephone operators. He granted maintenance of Rs. 25.00 each to the children and Rs. 50.00 per month to the wife.

(4) The petitioner husband approached the Court of Session in revision which has resulted in the present recommendation.

(5) The learned counsel for the wife opposes the recommendation and contends that under Section 488 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the income of the wife claiming maintenance has nto to be taken into consideration at the time of directing the husband to pay maintenance. According to the learned counsel, the wife has only to show that the husband has sufficient means and despite that he neglects or refuses to maintain the wife. He relied on Major Joginder Singit v. Bibi Raj Mohinder Kaur, Air 1960 P & H 249.(l) The learned counsel for the husband contends that where the wife is able to maintain herself, a husband cannto be directed to pay maintenance under Section 488 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, He relies on a decision of Lahore Hieh Court in Mohd. Ah alias Barkat Pam v. Me. Sahma Begum alias Shakuntla, Air 1954 Lah 392 and Ahmed Ali Sahib v. Sarjarajulnisa Begum, Air 1952 Hyd 76. He also refers to M. Ponnambolam v. Swaswalhi, : AIR1957Mad693 in support of his contention that the amount to be given to the wife for maintenance should be such as would support the wife nto in any comfort but as would enable her to keep her body and soul together.

(6) It is now well settled that Section on 488 of the Cede of Criminal Procedure provides a cheap and speedy remedy for the giant of maintenance to the wife where the husband having sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain her. The object of this section is to provide succor to a destitute wife. While deciding the question of maintenance the Magistrate is nto to take into consideration the rights which may have been conferred on the parties under the civil law The Magistrate has been given a discretion in the matte' but that discretier has to be exercised on well-laid judicial principles for determining the quantum. He lias to take into consideration various factors, e.g., the status of the husband, his income and liabilities as well as amount necessary for maintaining the wife.

(7) In my opinion, it is nto correct to say that the income. which the Wife is receiving, should nto be taken into consideration while deciding the question of maintenance. After all the purpose of Secticn 488 of' the Code of Criminal Procedure is to see that the wife. or the children who are unable to maintain themselves, should be provided for by the husband if he has sufficient means to do so but who neglects or refuses to maintain them. It is no answer to the application for maintenance that the wife is nto on the road but is being maintained by her relations. The wife has nto to be a burden on her relations or friends after her marriage. On the toher hand, if without being a burden on anyone she has gto sufficient income to maintain herself according to the status of the family, it will nto be just to direct the husband to give her maintenance simply on the ground that it is the duty of the husband to maintain his wife The duty of the husband, as already observed, extends to the maintenance of the wife according to the status of the family etc., and nto only to keep her body and soul together. In Mohd. Ali's case (supra).(2) the husband was nto a young man and had antoher wife to look-after and because of his ill health he had been discharged from service. His income was found to be between Rs. 15.00 to Rs. 20.00 per month whereas his expenditure was Rs. 40.00 to Rs. 50.00 per month. Rs. 38.00 per month allowed to the wife, who had a private income of Rs. 18.00 per month, were set aside. It was in these circumstances that the learned Judge observed that 'whatever may be her rights under the civil law, she is nto entitled to a maintenance allowance under this summary procedure greater than her bare needs for food, cltohes and lodging.' In my opinion, this is nto an authority for the proposition that a maintenance allowance to be granted to a wife is to be only for enabling her to keep her body and soul together In Jogindcr Singh's case (supra),(i) the husband was getting Rs. 1070.00 per month having practically no toher liability and so a sum of Rs. 150.00 per month was awarded to the wife and a sum of Rs. 200.00 per month for the maintenance of the child. The wife was nto in receipt of any income. In these circumstances, the learned Judge refused to interfere in revision and reduce the quantum of maintenance fixed for the wile. This decision is nto an authority that irrespective of the income of the wife she should be paid maintenance by her husband. It is true that under Section 488 of the Code of Criminal Procedure before a child can claim maintenance from the father, it has to prove that it is unable to maintain itself and no such condition lias been imposed on the wife. but the Magistrate cannto be said to be exercising his discretion judicially if he fails to take ntoe of the income of the wife. If that was nto so, the result would be that even where a wife is earning far more than the income of the husband (and these cases are nto rare in the present day society) she should still be awarded maintenance setting at naught the purpose of Section 488 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and perhaps reducing the husband to penury. The grant of maintenance under this Section is nto by way of punishment but as already observed, to enable the wife to live according to the social status to which the family belongs. The wife is always free to establish her claim under the civil law or the personal law of the parties in order to get an adequate relief.

(8) In the instant case, the Magistrate found that the wife had an income of Rs. 292.00 per month, whereas the husband had an income of Rs. 300.00 per month only out of which he has been directed to pay Rs. 50.00 per month to the two children living with the wife. Thus. the 'husband is left with Rs. 250.00 per month only whereas the wife will 'keep on getting Rs. 292.00 per month. In these circumstances, to award Rs. 50.00 per month to the wife as maintenance allowance cannto be said to be a judicial exercise of the discretion. This part of the Impugned order of the Magistrate awarding Rs. 50.00 per month to the wife for maintenance must be quaslied and set aside.

(9) The recommendation is, thereforee, accepted and the aforesaid part of the impugned order is hereby quashed and set aside.


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