1. In this case the petitioner filed an application for maintenance under Section 488, Criminal P.C., in the Court of the Chief Presidency Magistrate, Calcutta. Her case was that her husband was employed under the Bengal Home Industrial Association at No. 42 Chowringhee Road, Calcutta, on a salary of Rs. 100 per mensem, and that he had neglected to maintain her. She maintained that his present total income amounted to about Rs. 300 per mensem.
2. The learned Chief Presidency Magistrate rejected the petitioner's application on the ground that he had no jurisdiction to entertain it. In his order he stated with reference to the construction of Section 488(8), Criminal P.C.:
In my opinion 'is' refers only to oases where the opposite party may have no permanent residence, but only a temporary residence. If he has a permanent residence, the Court within which that is situated is the proper forum.
3. Admittedly, in this case, the opposite party has a permanent residence within the jurisdiction of the Police Magistrate of Alipore. The only point for consideration, therefore, is whether or not the language which has been used in Sub-section 8 of Section 488, Criminal P.C., is sufficiently wide to confer upon the Chief Presidency Magistrate jurisdiction to deal with an application of this sort, in view of the fact that the opposite party is employed under the Bengal Home Industrial Association within the jurisdiction of the Chief Presidency Magistrate. In my view the intention of the Legislature in using the words, 'where he resides or is, or where he last resided with his wife' in Sub-section 8 of Section 488 of the Code was to make it as easy as possible for an aggrieved per. son to obtain a maintenance under the provisions of this Section. Obviously, it was intended in the first place to confer jurisdiction upon the proper authorities within the district in which the permanent residence or home of the opposite party happened to be situated. But, in my view, by using the words 'or is' the further intention appears to have been that proceedings might also be taken against opposite parties, who had no permanent residence within the jurisdiction of the Magistrate concerned, but who might be easily found there. This expression is certainly, in my opinion, sufficiently wide to confer jurisdiction upon the Chief Presidency Magistrate in a case in which the opposite party works for gain within the jurisdiction of his Court, even though he may not have a permanent residence within such jurisdiction.
4. In this view of the case the order of the learned Chief Presidency Magistrate, dated 21st October 1938, is set aside, and he is directed to deal with the petitioner's application according' to law. The rule is made absolute in these terms.