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Spousal Maintenance

Geeta Satish Gokarna v Satish Shankarrao Gokarna, AIR 2004 Bom 345

GEETA SATISH GOKARNA V. SATISH SHANKARRAO GOKARNA

Geeta Satish Gokarna v. Satish Shankarrao Gokarna AIR 2004 Bom 345

ISSUE:

  • Whether Section 25(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act is applicable in the present case?
  • Whether Geeta can claim maintenance despite the terms of the dissolution?

RULE:

  • The wording of Section 25(1) allows for a party to move an application for maintenance even after a dissolution so long as maintenance has not been provided for.
  • The terms of the dissolution cannot disentitle a any party from the claim for permanent alimony.

FACTS:

  • The marriage between Geeta and Satish was dissolved in 1995 by mutual consent under Section 33 of the Hindu Marriage Act.
  • Terms of the dissolution included clauses guaranteeing that neither party would initiate proceedings against the other in the future and that Geeta would not claim any maintenance from Satish in the future.
  • Geeta filed an application for permanent maintenance of 25,000 rupees per month.
  • Satish claimed a change in circumstances following from a heart attack in 1991.
  • Family Court adjudged on the case in 1999 and set maintenance at 2000 rupees per month.
  • Geeta appealed to the Supreme Court.

HELD:

  • The Supreme Court held that the power under Section 25 was granted to the court and no agreement between parties can attempt to oust the jurisdiction of the Court. The Court further held that permanent alimony and maintenance are a larger part of the right to life.
  • Following this, it was ruled that any terms contrary to this would be contrary to public policy. Both clauses were severed from the other terms of consent.
  • Section 25(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act was held to be applicable in the present case and Geeta could claim maintenance despite the terms of the dissolution.
  • It was further stated that due to a lack of material before the Court, it could not enhance the amount of maintenance ordered by the Family Court.
Categories
Spousal Maintenance

Chaturbhuj v Sita Bai, (2008) 2 SCC 316

CHATURBHUJ V. SITA BAI

Chaturbhuj v. Sita Bai, (2008) 2 SCC 316

ISSUE:

  • Whether Sita Bai’s income was sufficient for her to sustain herself and consequently, whether Chaturbhuj would have to pay her maintenance?

RULE:

  • The burden is on a wife to show that the means of her husband are sufficient. In the present case, this is undisputed.
  • Whether a deserted wife is unable to maintain herself has to be decided by the material placed on record before the court.

FACTS:

  • Chaturbhuj and Sita Bai married around forty years ago. Subsequently, they lived separately for more than twenty years.
  • Sita Bai claimed that she was unemployed and thus, unable to maintain herself.
  • Chaturbhuj was receiving 8,000 rupees as pension and a similar amount as rent, he was also lending money to people on interest.
  • Chaturbhuj claimed that Sita Bai was living in a house constructed by him which she had since sold and received the proceeds of the sale. Further, he had purchased land in her name which she was renting out.
  • It was contended that Chaturbhuj did not need to pay maintenance as Sita Bai had money from the sale of agricultural land and rent.
  • The case was heard in a trial Court, Revisional Court and High Court before being appealed to the Supreme Court.

HELD:

  • The Supreme Court held that though Chaturbhuj had placed evidence that Sita Bai had some income, it was not sufficient to rule out Section 125 of the CrPC. It was to be established that the income was enough to sustain the wife.
  • The court further ruled that in cases where the income of the wife is insufficient, she can claim maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC. The wife should be able to maintain herself in the way she used to when with her husband.
  • The court held that Sita Bai was unable to maintain herself solely with her income and was, thus, entitled to maintenance from Chaturbhuj.
Categories
Spousal Maintenance

Indra Sarma v. V.K.V.Sarma, 2013 (14) SC 448

INDRA SARMA V. V.K.V.SARMA

Indra Sarma v. V.K.V.Sarma, 2013 (14) SC 448

ISSUE:

  • Whether respondent’s relationship with the petitioner falls under the definition of in the nature of marriage of the DV Act?
  • Whether respondents can claim maintenance in this relationship?

RULE:

  • To consider a relationship as a “relationship in the nature of marriage” it must inherent essential characteristic of a marriage, but a relationship other than “in the nature of marriage” and the person’s status is lower than the status of a wife and that relationship would not fall within the definition of “domestic relationship” under Section 2(f) of the DV Act.

FACTS:

  • Appellant (Indra Sarma) and respondent (V.K.V. Sarma) were working together in a private company.
  • The Respondent, who was working as a Personal Officer of the Company, was a married person having two children, and the appellant, aged 33 years, was unmarried.
  • In 1992, the appellant quit her job at the company and started living together with the respondent in a shared household. The appellant knew that the respondent was already married.
  • Appellant alleged that he started a business in her name but later shifted his residence and continued the business with the help of his son, thereby depriving her right of working and earning.
  • She also alleged that she was pregnant 3 times but lead to abortion and also respondent forced her to take contraceptive methods to avoid pregnancy.
  • She also said that the respondent took money from her many times but never returned it.
  • Appellant filed for maintenance under various statutes.
  • Respondent objected stating it was on sympathetical grounds that he gave shelter to her in a separate house after noticing the fact that she was abandoned by her parents and relatives, especially after the demise of her father.
  • The respondent has admitted that he had cohabited with the appellant since 1993. The fact that he was married and had two children was known to the appellant.
  • The pregnancy of the appellant was terminated with her as well as her brother’s consent since she was not maintaining good health.
  • The respondent had also spent large amounts for her medical treatment and the allegation that he had taken money from the appellant was denied.
  • The learned Magistrate found proof that the parties had lived together for a considerable period of time, for about 18 years, and then the respondent left the company of the appellant without maintaining her.
  • Learned Magistrate took the view that the plea of “domestic violence” had been established, due to the non-maintenance of the appellant and passed the order directing the respondent to pay an amount of Rs.18, 000/- per month towards maintenance from the date of the petition.
  • Respondent aggrieved by the said order of the learned Magistrate filed an appeal before the Sessions Court and the appellate court also concluded that the appellant has no source of income and that the respondent is legally obliged to maintain her and confirmed the order passed by the learned Magistrate.
  • The respondent took up the matter in appeal before the High Court. It was contended before the High Court and the court set aside the order by the other courts.
  • Appellant filed an appeal before Supreme Court.

HELD:

  • Supreme Court is with a view that the appellant, having been fully aware of the fact that the respondent was a married person, could not have entered into a live-in relationship in the nature of marriage.
  • All live-in- relationships are not relationships in the nature of marriage.
  • Appellant’s and the respondent’s relationship is, therefore, not a “relationship in the nature of marriage” because it has no inherent or essential characteristic of a marriage, but a relationship other than “in the nature of marriage” and the appellant’s status is lower than the status of a wife and that relationship would not fall within the definition of “domestic relationship” under Section 2(f) of the DV Act.
  • The court found that the appellant’s status was that of a mistress, who is in distress, a survivor of a live-in relationship.
  • By entering into such a relationship, the appellant has committed an intentional tort, i.e. interference in the marital relationship with intentionally alienating respondent from his family, i.e. his wife and children.
  • The court was aware of the fact that if any direction is given to the respondent to pay maintenance or monetary consideration to the appellant, that would be at the cost of the legally wedded wife and children of the respondent, especially when they had opposed that relationship and have a cause of action against the appellant for alienating the companionship and affection of the husband/parent which is an intentional tort.
  • Therefore the court found no reasons to interfere with the judgment of the High Court and the appeal is accordingly dismissed.
Categories
Spousal Maintenance

Rajnesh v. Neha and Another, Cr. A No. 730 OF 2020

RAJNESH V. NEHA AND ANOTHER

Rajnesh v. Neha and Another, Cr. A No. 730 OF 2020

ISSUE:

  • Whether wife can claim maintenance under different statutes?
  • Is there a time limit for disposal of proceedings relating to interim maintenance?

RULE:

  • Section 125 of the Hindu Maintenance Act.
  • Section 28A of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956
  • Section 20(6) of the D.V. Act and
  • Section 128 of Cr.P.C. as may be applicable.

FACTS:

  • The Respondent No.1-wife left the matrimonial home in January 2013, shortly after the birth of the son-Respondent No.2.
  • The wife applied interim maintenance u/S. 125 Cr.P.C. on behalf of herself and the minor son. The Family Court vide a detailed Order awarded interim maintenance of Rs.15,000 per month to the Respondent No.1- wife from and Rs.5,000 per month as interim maintenance for the Respondent No.2-son and 10,000 after till the main petition was passed.
  • The Appellant (husband) challenged the Order of the Family Court to vide Criminal Writ Petition filed before the Bombay High Court. The High Court dismissed the Writ Petition and affirmed the Judgment passed by the Family Court
  • Aggrieved with the order of the High Court, the husband appealed before the Supreme Court.
  • The husband appeared before the Court and made an oral statement that he did not have the financial means to comply with the Order of maintenance payable to the Respondent No.1-wife, and had to borrow loans from his father to pay the same.
  • He however stated that he had paid the maintenance awarded to the son, and would continue to do so without demur. Both parties addressed arguments and filed their written submissions.
  • The wife has inter alia submitted that the amount of Rs.10, 000 awarded for the son was granted when he was 2 ½ years old in 2015.
  • The said amount was now highly inadequate to meet the expenses of a growing child, who is 7 ½ years old and is a school-going boy.
  • It was further submitted that the admission fee for the current academic year 2020-2021 had not yet been paid. If the fee was not paid within time, the school would discontinue sending the link for online classes.
  • She submitted that she was being overburdened by the growing expenses, with no support from the husband.
  • Concerning the contention of the husband that he had no income, she submitted that the husband had made investments in real estate projects, and other businesses, which he was concealing from the Court, and diverting the income to his parents.
  • Concerning the contention of the husband that he had no income, she submitted that the husband had made investments in real estate projects, and other businesses, which he was concealing from the Court, and diverting the income to his parents.
  • It has also been alleged that the Appellant had retained illegal possession of her Streedhan, which he was refusing to return. Despite orders being passed by this Court, and in the proceedings under the D.V. Act, he was deliberately not complying with the same. In these circumstances, it was submitted that there was a major trust deficit, and there was no prospect for reconciliation.

HELD:

  • The Supreme Court affirmed the Judgment and order passed by the Family Court, affirmed by the Bombay High Court, for payment of interim maintenance @ Rs.15,000 p.m. to the wife, and Rs.10,000 p.m. to the son.
  • The husband was directed to pay the entire arrears of maintenance @ Rs.15, 000 p.m., within 12 weeks from the date of this Judgment, and continue to comply with this Order during the pendency of the proceedings u/S. 125 Cr.P.C. before the Family Court.
  • If the husband failed to comply with the aforesaid directions of this Court, it would be open to the respondents to have the Order enforced u/S.128 Cr.P.C. and take recourse to all other remedies which are available under law.
  • The court also passed directions to overcome the issue of overlapping of jurisdiction which has to be followed by the Family Courts/District Courts/Magistrate Courts throughout the country:
  • Where successive claims for maintenance are made by a party under different statutes, the Court would consider an adjustment or setoff, of the amount awarded in the previous proceeding/s, while determining whether any further amount is to be awarded in the subsequent proceeding.
  • It is made mandatory for the applicant to disclose the previous proceeding and the orders passed therein, in the subsequent proceeding.
  • If the order passed in the previous proceeding/s requires any modification or variation, it would be required to be done in the same proceeding.
  • It also issued directions regarding Payment of Interim Maintenance as, the Affidavit of Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities, shall be filed by both parties in all maintenance proceedings, including pending proceedings before the concerned Family Court / District Court / Magistrates Court, as the case may be, throughout the country.
  • It also issued directions related to Criteria for determining the quantum of maintenance; Date from which maintenance is to be awarded, Enforcement / Execution of orders of maintenance.