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Smt. Shakuntla Vs. Rattan Lal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtHimachal Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1981CriLJ1420
AppellantSmt. Shakuntla
RespondentRattan Lal
Cases ReferredMadho v. Chan
Excerpt:
- .....that allegations of unchasjity were not sufficient reasons for the wife to live separately and claim maintenance. the magistrate followed the decision of the judicial commissioner in madho v. chanchoo .5. i need not go into other allegations since i am of the opinion that tho allegation of unchastity, which was made by the husband not only in hit; reply but also in his statement on oath before the magistrate, amounts to cruelty and is a sufficient reason for the wife to live separately and claim maintenance. mr. k.c. rana, learned counsel for the respondent, submits that since the wife in her petition did not allege any such cruelty on the part of the husband, therefore, no relief could be given to her on that ground. according to the learned counsel, the wife must make another.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Vyas Dev Misra, C.J.

1. This revision is directed against the order dated 14-1-1981 of Shri R.C. Sharma, Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Hamirpur, dismissing the wife's application for maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

2. It is not in dispute that the petitioner and the resppndent were duly married. The wife made an application under Section 125, Cr.P.C. alleging that the husband is ill-treating her because of her black complexion and has developed illicit relations with one Kanta who was employed in the same place where the husband was working. The wife also averred that she was being kept in village Bishnu whereas the husband was working at Bilaspur, and that she was maltreated at that place also.

3. The husband resisted this application. After denying all the allegations made by the wife, the husband alleged that the wife was leading an unchaste life.

4. The Magistrate dismissed the application on the ground that allegations of unchasjity were not sufficient reasons for the wife to live separately and claim maintenance. The Magistrate followed the decision of the Judicial Commissioner in Madho v. Chanchoo .

5. I need not go into other allegations since I am of the opinion that tho allegation of unchastity, which was made by the husband not only in hit; reply but also in his statement on oath before the Magistrate, amounts to cruelty and is a sufficient reason for the wife to live separately and claim maintenance. Mr. K.C. Rana, learned Counsel for the respondent, submits that since the wife in her petition did not allege any such cruelty on the part of the husband, therefore, no relief could be given to her on that ground. According to the learned Counsel, the wife must make another application making these allegations as the basis, and only then she could be allowed maintenance. I am afraid, I cannot agree with him. It is by now well settled that while deciding a case the courts can take into consideration subsequent events. The event of causing this aspersion took place after the application was filed and before the case was decided. It is, therefore, a subsequent event. There is nothing wrong in taking notice of the same instead of forcing the party to file a fresh application as this would result in multiplicity of proceedings and unnecessary litigation.

6. I also find that a number of Hieh Courts have, under similar circumstances, upheld the right of the wife to live separately and claim maintenance. In Chander Parkash v. Shila Rani : AIR1968Delhi174 the husband had imputed unchastity to the wife only in the witness box. He did not say so even in his reply to the petition. It was ruled that the wife was justified in refusing to live with the husband and claim maintenance. In Kandaswami Moopan v. Angammal : AIR1960Mad348 the husband alleged unchastity in reply to the wife's application for maintenance under Section 488 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It was held that this amounted to legal cruelty entitling wife to live separately and claim maintenance. This decision followed various other decisions of the Madras High Court, in Narayanan Neelakantan v. Amini Narayani AIR 1952 Truv-Co. 562 : 1973 Cri LJ 72 in similar circumstances the wife was allowed maintenance.

7. It is true that in Madho v. Chan-choo the learned Judicial Commissioner ruled that where imputation of unchastity was made for the first time in reply to the wife's application for maintenance and was not the ground in the application the wife could not claim maintenance on this ground. With all respects to the learned Judicial Commissioner I cannot agree. What has been overlooked is that the wife would be driven to another round of litigation and in the interest of -justice it was necessary to decide the case after taking into consideration the subsequent event. I am, therefore, satisfied that the wife was justified in refusing to live with her husband and claiming maintenance.

8. Coming to the question of quantum of maintenance, I find that the husband himself has admitted earning Rs. 450/- per month. I would, therefore, allow a maintenance of Rs. 120/-per month. It is true that Jhaku Ram (AW 2) does depose that the wife could live in Rs. 60/- to Rs. 70/- per month. However, this is the estimate of this witness, who is aged 70 years. Apparently he is living in his young days when money meant something. It is notorious now that it is impossible to keep body and soul together in this petty amount. Moreover it is not the question of the minimum amount in which one can iust exist but the standard of living of the parties must also be taken into consideration. In the instant case the husband is working in Agriculture Department as a clerk. He is not HvJng in a village but was working in Bilaspur and thereafter had gone to Ghumarwin. It is, therefore, not enough that the wife should be paid the minimum amount to iust somehow exist under the sun. I would, therefore, pay no regard to the ideas of this witness.

9. The result is that the petition is accepted and the impugned order is hereby set aside. The wife's application for maintenance is allowed and the respondent is directed to pay a sum of Rs. 120/- per month as maintenance to his wife from the date of the application. The wife will have her costs also.


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