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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.