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Gian Devi Vs. Amar Nath Aggarwal Etc. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberInterim Application No. 650 of 1974 and Probate Case No. 2 of 1973
Judge
Reported inILR1975Delhi811
ActsHindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 - Sections 22
AppellantGian Devi
RespondentAmar Nath Aggarwal Etc.
Advocates: J.P. Gupta and; T.N. Sethi, Advs
Cases ReferredTarini Gupta Chowdhury v. Smt. Gouri Gupta Chowdhury
Excerpt:
.....pendency of the application for permission to sue in forma pauperis, she applied for grant of interim maintenance. the question before the court was whether interim maintenance could be granted to her.; also, that it is the duty of the court to protect the interest of the applicant even at this state of the proceedings, even though the application is still to be adjudicated upon for the purposes of finding out whether the applicant is entitled to sue in forma pauperis.; further, (on facts) that in the instant case applicant is entitled to get maintenance and she has shown facts which require that she should be given maintenance without any further delay. the applicant is also very aged, and it would be almost impossible for her to obtain justice from this court, if she is not..........j.(1) the learned counsel for the applicant has referred to several reported cases, to show that interim maintenance can be ordered during the pendency of a suit for maintenance. those authorities for the purposes of reference, are reported as : air1955mad571 muniammal v. p.m. ranganatha nayagar and another : air1968cal305 , smt. gouri gupta chandhury v. tarani gupta chaudhury, : air1968cal405 , nemal chand jain v. smt. lila jain and : air1968cal567 , tarini gupta chowdhury v. smt. gouri gupta chowdhury. the present application has been moved during the pendency of a pauper application and the learned counsel for the respondent urges that the authorities show that interim maintenance can be ordered in a suit but not during the pendency of a pauper application. the learned counsel for.....
Judgment:

Dalip K. Kapur, J.

(1) The learned counsel for the applicant has referred to several reported cases, to show that interim maintenance can be ordered during the pendency of a suit for maintenance. Those authorities for the purposes of reference, are reported as : AIR1955Mad571 Muniammal v. P.M. Ranganatha Nayagar and another : AIR1968Cal305 , Smt. Gouri Gupta Chandhury v. Tarani Gupta Chaudhury, : AIR1968Cal405 , Nemal Chand Jain v. Smt. Lila Jain and : AIR1968Cal567 , Tarini Gupta Chowdhury v. Smt. Gouri Gupta Chowdhury. The present application has been moved during the pendency of a pauper application and the learned counsel for the respondent urges that the authorities show that interim maintenance can be ordered in a suit but not during the pendency of a pauper application. The learned counsel for the respondent has offered to pay interim maintenance @Rs. 200.00 per month starting from the date of institution of the suit in this Court. This offer is without prejudice to the eventual maintenance ordered or fixed and also without prejudice to the maintenance which may be fixed in the petition, under Section 488 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which is pending. The respondent is, however, not willing to pay the arrears of maintenace immediately and wants three years time to make up this payment. The offer is not acceptable to the petitioner, who claims that the arrears of maintenance should be paid from 1971 is admitted and also that the arrears should not be withheld for a period of three years. On referring to the authorities cited by Mr. Sethi to submit that there can be no order for maintenance passed at this stage, I find that A.I.R. 1952 Mys 76, Thimmayya v. M. B. Sadasivappa and another, is an authority concerning the grant of a temporary injunction during the pendency of a pauper application. It was held by the Court that a temporary injunction could only be granted in a 'suit'. Referring to Section 94 of the Civil Procedure Code it was held that an injunction could only be granted if the prescribed conditions were satisfied. The application not being a suit. it was held no interim injunction could be granted. The present application is not one for the grant of an interim injunction. It is an application for interlocutory order and, thereforee. Section 94 applies. There are no restictions in the Code regarding the passing of such interlocutory orders. The same provision of Law apply to the pauper applications as apply to suits.

(2) Turning now to the cases cited by the learned counsel for the applicant, I find that the judgment of the Calcutta High Court reported as Nemal Chand Jain v. Smt. Lila Jain, : AIR1968Cal405 and the judgment reported as Tarini Gupta Chowdhury v. Smt. Gouri Gupta Chowdhury, : AIR1968Cal567 , were concerned with the circumstances in which an interim maintenance order could be passed during the pendency of a suit for maintenance. It was urged before the Court that an order concerning the grant of interim maintenance could be passed only under Section 151 of the Code. However, the Court held that this was not so. It was decided that once the proceedings under Section 18 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, were before the Court, the Court had full jurisdiction to grant maintenance to the wife or other person who was beforethe Court. It was observed thus by the Court :-

'THEpower of the Court does not flow from Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Section 151 confers power on the Court to make orders in relation to administration of justice and the Court has always inherent power to make such orders. It was said by counsel for the appellant that the order of grant of interim maintenance would have the effect of conferring a substantive right of maintenance. The order is not made under Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure.....................'.

The Court went on further to analyze whether the interim maintenance would govern the final decision in the case and it was observed as follows:-

'THErelief asked for in the suit has yet to be determined and decided. If there is a prima facie and if the Court is of opinion that the plaintiff is entitled to interim relief the plaintiff may be given such relief. That is not deciding the whole case. In these cases the Court is bound to arrive at a conclusion as to whether any inter-locutory order will be made or not. There has to be a prima facie opinion. Inter-locutory opinions do not bind the trial Court.'

Now, I liave to decide in the circumstance of the case whether (a) Interlocutory relief should be given to the applicant and (b) if such relief is to be given, at what rate the maintenance should be ordered. It can be seen from the facts, that the applicant is the mother and the respondent is the son. According to the respondent the property belonging to the father was left by a will to him, and the mother was given no share. According to the mother (applicant) the property left is Joint Hindu Family property and she is entitled to a share as of right. It is also claimed that the will which is relied upon by the respondent is not genuine. Further, it is claimed by the applicant that she has been turned out from the house. The applicant is 76 years old at present. It is claimed by her that she has no source or livelihood and no means for maintaining herself. According to the respondent the applicant has voluntarily left the house of the respondent and has gone away on her own. It is claimed that she was being given a sum of Rs. 150 per month when she was living in the house of the respondent. The respondent has also expressed willingness for the applicant to return to the house, and if she docs, she will be properly looked after. This offer is not acceptable to the applicant.

(3) I have been referred to the provisions of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1966. The provisions of that Act as far as present question is concerned are quite plain. It is the duty of a Hindu, during his or her lifetime, to maintain his or her legitimate or illegitimate children and his or her aged or infirm parents. This is provided by Section 20 of the Act. The applicant is 76 years old and, thereforee, obviously comes within the category of aged or infirm parents. The applicant also comes within the category of 'dependent' as defined in Section 21 of the Act. The maintenance of dependents is dealt with in Sections 22 and 23 of the Act. It is stated in Section 22 of the Act as follows:-

(1)Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), the heirs of a deceased Hindu are bound to maintain the dependents of the deceased out of the estate inherited by them from the deceased. (2) Where a dependent has not obtained, by testamentary or intestate succession, any share in the estate of a Hindu dying after the commencement of this Act, the dependent shall be entitled, subject to the provisions of this Act, to maintenance from those who take the estate.'

Now the applicant being the mother of the respondent is entitled to maintenance either as being a dependent herself or if one considers her to be a dependent of late husband, she is entitled to get maintenance by reason of not having obtained any estate from her deceased husband. The case of the applicant is that the respondent has not actually got the entire estate of the late husband but the case of the respondent is that he has got the entire estate of his father under the will. It follows that according to the respondent's own case he is bound to maintain his mother. He is bound to do so firstly, as he has got the entire estate of his father and secondly, he is also bound to maintain her, on the footing that she is old and infirm and comes within the category of 'dependent'.

(4) Now coming to the question of the amount of maintenance, reference has to be made to Section 23 of the Act. The Court under this provision has to have regard to the considerations set out in sub-section 2 of the Section. Those considerations are (a) what is the position and status of the parties (b) what are the reasonable wants of the claimant and (c) if the claimant is having separately, whether the claimant is justified in doing so and (d) what is the value of the claimant's property and does she derive income from such property, or from the claimant's own earnings or from any other source Now there is no material before the Court concerning the claimant's property. The application before the Court is a pauper application. On the other hand, the respondent claims that the applicant is possessed of jewellery worth lacs of rupees. This matter is subjudice before this Court. There can be no predetermination of this question at this stage. As the application is in forma pauperies, I consider that this application has to be dealt with on the basis that the applicant has apparently no other source of income. The application has been contested by the' respondent on the ground that the applicant has no right to live separately and she chooses to live separately she cannot get maintenance. On the other hand, the applicant claims that she has been thrown out of the house by the respondent. This again is a question which I cannot decide at this moment. I think that the rights of the parents qua the child are quite different from the rights of the wife qua husband or the child qua the parents. I do not think that there is an obligation in Hindu Law for the parents to live with the child. But this matter will have to be adjudicated upon when this matter is finally decided. I think the true position must be that the applicant, as far as the facts appearing before the Court today are concerned, is a pauper who has been throughout of the house by the respondent who has been deprived of all property of her deceased husband, who is a destitute and practically on the road. It is the duty of the Court to protect the interest of the applicant even at this stage of the proceedings, even though it is an interlocutory application and even though the application is still to be adjudicated upon even for the purposes of finding out whether the applicant is entitled to sue in forma pauperies. I think that the applicant is entitled to get maintenance and she has shown facts which require that she should be given maintenance without any further delay. The applicant is also very aged, and it would be almost impossible for her to obtain justice from this Court, if she is not granted interim maintenance during the penlency of this application.

(5) Further, it is likely that she will be deprived of all the fruits of any order to which she may be found entitled, in these proceedings, if no order is passed at this stage. I, thereforee, direct that the applicant should be paid maintenance at: the rate of Rs. 400 per month starting from the date of this application, which was moved on 18th February, 1974. Let the maintenance be paid at the rate of Rs. 400 per month starting from 1st March, 1974, till the disposal of the suit. The eventual sum received in this manner will be adjustable towards the amount finally determined. The case will now be set down for hearing before the Court on merits. The replication be filed by 5th November, 1974 and the case to be listed for completion before the Deputy Registrar on that very date. The case to be listed before Court at the earliest possible date. In view of the fact that the petitioner is very aged it is absolutely essential that this case should be given the topmost priority in the matter of listing before the Court. The applicant will get costs of this application. The I.A. is disposed of.


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