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Ajitesh Shrivastava vs Smt. Ruchi Shrivastava on 7 January, 2019

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THE HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH
Crr. 3136/18
(Smt. Ruchi Shrivastava Vs. Atijesh Shrivastava)

Crr. 3681/18
( Atijesh Shrivastava Vs. Smt. Ruchi Shrivastava)
Gwalior Dt. 07/1/19
Shri Brijesh Tyagi, Advocate for the petitioner in Crr. No.
3136/18 and for respondent in Crr. No. 3681/18.

Shri S.S.Tomar, Advocate for the respondent in Crr.No.
3136/18 and for petitioner in Crr. 3681/18.

1. Both the above said criminal revisions, one bearing No.
3136/18 filed by the wife for enhancement of maintenance
allowance awarded by the trial court u/S. 125 Cr.P.C. and the
other bearing No. 3681/18 filed by the husband assailing the
aforesaid grant of maintenance to the wife, have arisen out of the
same order and therefore have been heard analogously and thus
stand decided by this common order.

2. Learned counsel for the rival parties are heard.

3. The bare facts reveal that marriage between the rival parties
took place on 4/12/2011 as per Hindu rites and customs. At the
time of marriage, petitioner-husband was possessing LLM degree
and was employed as Legal Adviser in Shriram Finance Company
at Indore. Within two months of the marriage, discord in
matrimonial relationship arose. Mental and physical cruelty was
inflicted upon the wife as alleged by her while the husband and his
relatives allege intemperate and insane behaviour on the part of
wife. Ultimately, the discord reaching it zenith led to the wife being
driven out of the matrimonial home on 29/7/2012. Attempts
towards settlement failed. On behest of wife criminal case u/S.
498-A IPC was registered with the police against the husband and
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mother-in-law. The wife further filed divorce petition bearing No.
377A/13 before the Family Court in which despite service of
summons, the husband failed to appear leading to passing of ex-
parte decree in favour of the wife on 14/5/2015. The wife
thereafter filed petition for maintenance u/S. 125 Cr.P.C. before
the Principal Judge of Family Court, Gwalior seeking maintenance
allowance of Rs. 10,000/- p.m.
3.1 The husband responded to the application u/S. 125 Cr.P.C.
by denying the allegations of cruelty alleged by wife and as
regards income disclosed that he was earning only Rs. 5000-6000
per month by way of commission in private employment. The
husband also revealed that his wife has voluntarily left matrimonial
home and not for reasons attributed to the husband or his
relatives. The husband further alleged cruelty against the wife and
categorized the criminal prosecution launched by the wife as false
and frivolous. The husband further responded that despite all
efforts on his part the wife did not rejoin him at matrimonial home
and deliberately avoided all his attempts of re-assumption of
matrimonial relationship. The husband further disclosed that on
24/8/2013 a petition for restitution of conjugal rights u/S. 9 of the
HMA was filed by him in which the wife deliberately avoided
appearance leading to the said petition being adjourned repeatedly
and thereafter culminating in dismissal of the same on 19/2/2016
on the wife informing the court about passing of the ex-parte
divorce decree in her favour. The husband lastly responded that
the wife is earning by indulging in private tuition on the strength of
her educational qualification of diploma in textile designing to the
extent of Rs. 30,000/- per month and therefore needs no
maintenance.

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4. The court below on the basis of rival contentions found that
the wife is staying away from matrimonial home for reasons which
are not attributed to her. The court further found that wife has no
source of livelihood and is dependent on her parents for sustaining
herself. This testimony of the wife was corroborated by witness
Alka Shrivastava (mother of the wife).

5. On the other hand, the husband testified contradicting the
stand of the wife that he earns Rs. 5000-6000 per month only and
is ready to willing to re-assume matrimonial relationship with his
wife at matrimonial home but on account of the husband having
suffered a divorce decree at the hands of wife, resumption of
matrimonial relationship is in vain.

5.1 The trial court found that no effort was initiated by the
husband to set aside the ex-parte decree of divorce passed in
favour of the wife on 24/8/2013 which compelled the trial court to
draw the necessary inference that husband is not willing to reside
with his wife giving credence to the allegation of the wife that
reasons for the wife to leave matrimonial home are not attributed
to her.

5.2 As regards income, the court found that the plea taken by
the husband of earning only Rs. 5000-6000 per month by way of
commission in private employment does not appear to be true
especially in view of the fact that in para 17 of the testimony of
the husband he failed to disclose the identity of his employer. The
trial court also disbelieved the version of the husband that Rs.
5000-6000 per month is the only source of income since the court
found that in para 11 of his testimony the husband disclosed that
his daily working hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from which the
trial court deduced that he was in a regular employment and not
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working merely for commission. However, the court could not
decipher from the material available on record the quantum of
income of husband as the same was not disclosed by either of the
rival parties.

5.3 In the background of the aforesaid materials trial court
found the husband, not to be a man of meagre means since he
was in regular employment coupled with the fact that the husband
was an able bodied person who was legally responsible to
maintain his wife who was living away from matrimonial home for
reasons not attributed to her and had no source of livelihood
except to be dependent on her parents.

6. The trial court on the strength of the aforesaid material and
evidence concluded that an amount of Rs. 2500/- per month would
suffice as maintenance allowance.

7. This court after having heard learned counsel for the rival
parties especially learned counsel for the husband who has failed
to point out any legal infirmity or jurisdictional error in the order of
the court below, does not find it apposite to interfere with the
factual findings that the wife is entitled to maintenance allowance
u/S. 125 Cr.P.C.

8. The only question which now remains to be answered is
about the quantum of maintenance allowance.

8.1 In the present era where inflation and the price index are
on constant rise and the value of currency is rapidly falling by
every passing day, an amount of Rs. 2500/- per month as
maintenance allowance for the wife is on the lower side. The
Division Bench of this court had an occasion to lay down an
appropriate guideline by adopting principles under the Minimum
Wages Act to arrive at an appropriate quantum of maintenance
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allowance which is realistic from legal and also human angle in
F.A.196/2017 (Smt. Reeta Bais Vs. Vishwapratap Singh
Bais) decided on 30/8/2017, relevant extracts of which are
reproduced below :-

“4. Thus the only question which now begs for an
answer is about the quantum of pendente lite
maintenance awarded.

4.1. It is not denied that the respondent-husband is
an able bodied man who is legally responsible to
maintain his wife who has no source of livelihood.

4.2. This Court is of the considered view that from
the current standard of living and rising price index
the amount of compensation of Rs.4000/- per
month is deficient to sustain a woman as well as her
infant child.

4.3. To prima facie ascertain the minimum
essentials required to allow an individual to survive
and live a life of dignity, this court deems it
appropriate to seek guidance from the Notification
No. S.O.2413(E) dated 28th July, 2017 of the
Ministry of Labour and Employment issued under
the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 prescribing minimum
rates of wages for unskilled Labourer as Rs.350/-
per day.

4.4. This Court is of the considered view that taking
a modest figure of Rs.200/- per day for the
appellant wife and Rs.100/- per day for her infant
child would suffice to enable them to sustain a life of
dignity allowing them to meet the requirement of
necessity and a little bit of comfort.

5. Consequently, an amount of Rs.6,000/- per
month for wife and Rs.3,000/- per month for the
child would be reasonable pendente lite
maintenance.”

8.2 The above said order has been upheld by the Apex Court by
dismissal of SLP (Civil) No. 1529-1530 of 2018 on 12.01.2018.

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8.3 Taking que from the aforesaid verdict of the Division Bench
of this Court, Rs. 200/- per day (Rs. 6000/- per month) would be
reasonable amount in which the wife can not only sustain herself
but also live a life of dignity where not merely necessities but also
the bare essential comforts are taken care of.

9. Consequently, this court deems it appropriate to enhance
the amount of maintenance from Rs. 2500/- awarded by the trial
court to Rs. 6000/- per month which shall be paid at the enhanced
rate w.e.f. the 1st of January, 2019 instead of from the date of
application to avoid financial burden upon the husband and also to
make it convenient for him to clear arrears if any and to avoid
arising of eventuality of non-payment of maintenance amount in
the future.

10. Accordingly, Crr. 3681/18 preferred by the petitioner-
husband stands dismissed whereas Crr. 3136/18 preferred by the
petitioner-wife stands allowed to the extent indicated below:-

(1) That the amount of maintenance awarded by
the trial court is enhanced from Rs. 2500/- to Rs.
6000/- (Rs. Six Thousand) per month which shall be
paid to the wife at the enhanced rate positively
from the 1st of January, 2019.

(2) Petitioner-husband is further directed to clear
arrears of maintenance allowance, if any within a
period of three (3) months from today failing which
the wife shall be free to invoke the coercive
provision of Sec. 125(3) Cr.P.C.
No cost.

(Sheel Nagu)
(Bu) Judge
DHANANJA
07/1/2019
Digitally signed by DHANANJAYA BUCHAKE
DN: cIN, oHIGH COURT OF M.P. BENCH
GWALIOR, ouP. S., postalCode474011,

YA
stMadhya Pradesh,

2.5.4.20d94ba0c97d32b052dc2b2953e50aa2259
fffca02f0df64f6e380887af9a76471,
2.5.4.4503210001789E00741B6821B4768B566B4

BUCHAKE
765F459D8C46A18A92D65787E324985807413,
cnDHANANJAYA BUCHAKE
Date: 2019.01.07 17:01:21 +05’30’

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