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D.VELUSAMY V. D. PATCHAIAMMAL

Velusamy v. Patchaiammal, Cr. Appeal Nos. 2028 – 2029, SC, 2010

ISSUE:

  • Whether the Appellant married Lakshmi before his marriage with the Respondent?
  • Whether the maintenance under sec.125 CrPC be granted to the respondent?

RULE:

  • When a person is not given a chance to hear then principles of natural justice are violated.

FACTS:

  • The appellant herein has alleged that he was married according to the Hindu Customary Rites with Lakshmi on 25.6.1980. Out of the wedlock with Lakshmi a male child was born, who is now studying in an Engineering college at Ooty.
  • The respondent Patchaiammal filed a petition under Section 125 Cr. P.C (I.e., Order for maintenance of wives, children, and parents). in the year 2001 before the Family Court at Coimbatore in which she alleged that she was married to the appellant herein on 14.9.1986 and since then the appellant herein and she lived together in her father’s house for two or three years.
  • It was alleged in the petition that after two or three years the appellant herein left the house of the respondent’s father and started living in his native place, but would visit the respondent occasionally.
  • It is alleged that the appellant herein (respondent in the petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C.) deserted the respondent herein (petitioner in the proceeding under Section 125 Cr.P.C.) two or three years after marrying her in 1986.
  • In her petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C., she alleged that she did not have any kind of livelihood and she is unable to maintain herself whereas the respondent (appellant herein) is a Secondary Grade Teacher drawing a salary of Rs.10000/- per month. Hence it was prayed that the respondent (appellant herein) be directed to pay Rs.500/- per month as maintenance to the petitioner.
  • The appellant to prove his marriage with Lakshmi the appellant produced the ration card, voter’s identity card of his wife, transfer certificate of his son, discharge certificate of his wife Lakshmi from the hospital, photographs of the wedding, etc.
  • The learned Family Court Judge held by his judgment dated that the appellant was married to the respondent and not to Lakshmi. These findings have been upheld by the High Court in the impugned judgment. An appeal was filed to Supreme Court.

HELD:

  • The Supreme Court held that the Courts below erred in law in holding that Lakshmi was not married to the appellant (since the notice was not issued to her and she was not heard), it cannot be said at this stage that the respondent herein is the wife of the appellant.
  • Lakshmi was not made a party to the proceedings before the Family Court Judge or before the High Court and no notice was issued to her hence any declaration about her marital status vis-vis the appellant is wholly null and void as it will be violative of the rules of natural justice.
  • A divorced wife is treated as a wife for the purpose of Section 125 Cr.P.C. but if a person has not even been married obviously that person could not be divorced. Hence the respondent cannot claim to be the wife of the appellant herein unless it is established that the appellant was not married to Lakshmi.