Bombay High Court Jyotsna Krishnakumar Tarkar-vs-Krishnakumar Sadanan Tarkar And on 10 June, 2003
Equivalent citations:I (2004) DMC 672
Author: J Chitre
Bench: J Chitre
J.G. Chitre, J.
1. The petitioner is hereby assailing the correctness, propriety and legality of the order passed by Family Court, Bandra in Petition No. E-558 of 1993 so far as quantum of alimony is concerned and she is making a prayer that the quantum of alimony awarded to her and her children be increased from Rs. 300/- to Rs. 500/- each, per month.
2. Few facts need to be stated as mentioned below for understanding the matter in the proper tone. The petitioner and her husband respondent No. 1 Krishnakumar Sadanan Tarkar married with each other on 7.2.76 according to Hindu religious rites at Mumbai and lived as husband and wife for considerable time. Three children were born out of that wedlock. First one was born on 4.12.76, second one was born on 25.5.85 and third one was born on 21.10.86. Their names are (1) Reena, (2) Prathmesh and (3) Omkar. The petitioner alleged in the petition that after marriage she started residing with respondent No. 1 at Kurla along with his father. Before the death her father-in-law told her that respondent Krishnakumar had kept a concubine who’s name happens to be Suman Dharmaji Suryavanshi. After the death of the father-in-law of the petitioner Jyotsna, krishnakumar started illtrating her and he made her life miserable. He did not permit her to use four rooms of matrimonial home and started beating her and her daughters without any reason. The illtreatment went to such an extent which compelled her, according to the say of the petitioner, to lodge a complaint with the police and on account of that a criminal case is pending in Vikroli Court in context with offences punishable under the provisions of Section 498A. During the pendency of the said petition and the desertion, petitioner Jyotsna learnt that respondent Krishnakumar is living with a mohamedian lady named Amina and is giving her entire salary. She averred therein that respondent Krishnakumar is serving in Bharat Petroleum Corporation and is earning salary to the tune of Rs. 4000/- to Rs. 5000/- per month. She averred that she is unable to maintain herself and her children mentioned above and, therefore, prayer for alimony from her husband. The learned Magistrate allowed her application and granter her alimony to the tune of Rs. 300/- to Jyotsna and Rs. 200/- each to her children, namely, Reena, Prathmesh and Omkar with effect from the date of the petition i.e. 5.7.1993. He granted cost of Rs. 250/- also.
3. Ms. Baxi, counsel appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the learned Judge has concluded after appreciating the evidence that the petitioner Jyostna is unable to maintain herself and her children who are minors. However, the petitioner is having good salary and is getting more than Rs. 4300/- She pointed out that the learned Magistrate has come to the conclusion that pendency of criminal case initiated at the instance of police report in context with Section 498A I.P.C. is prima facie sufficient enough to show that the respondent Krishnakumar has illtreated the petitioner. She pointed out further that the factum of living separately is also proved. According to Ms. Baxi, in these days of rising prices, Rs. 300/- for a woman like Jyostna would be totally insufficient in Mumbai and Rs. 200/- for the growing children are totally insufficient. Mr. Shringapure submitted that a just and proper order be passed in view of the facts and circumstances of the case.
4. When no challenge has been put to the findings recorded by the learned Magistrate which are embodied in paragraphs 7 and 8 of his judgment, this Court will have to accept them as final finding of facts. It goes to show that the petitioner is residing separately from respondent No. 1 and she was required to file a complaint in police station on which a criminal prosecution has been initiated in the Court at Vikroli in context with an offence punishable under Section 498A of IPC which is dealing with cruelty shown by the husband. Apart from that, the evidence on record as accepted by the learned Magistrate shows that respondent No. 1 Krishnakumar has neglected Jyotsna and her children mentioned above and he did not maintain them though he is legally bound to do so. This court occurs with the conclusion recorded by the trial Court that petitioner and her children are entitled to get alimony from her husband.
5. What remains is the quantum of alimony which the petitioner and her children mentioned above should get from Krishnakumar. Rs. 300/- per month in Mumbai are totally insufficient to allow the petitioner to live with her should and body in tact with virtue. That amount is nothing but pittance in view of the days of escalating prices. A person requires atleast Rs. 20 for a meal. A young woman’s needs would not be restricted to only food. She would be requiring tea, snacks, clothes and cosmetics too. Whether she would be in a position to satisfy her normal needs in context with the items mentioned above within Rs. 300/-? The answer would be from all corners “No”.
6. For a liter of milk atleast Rs. 22/- are required. Those growing children must be requiring atleast milk or tea going to a lower side, per day. Why they should not have the milk with some nutritious diet? In addition to that their primary need is to have education also. The dresses go unnoticed. For that also, some expenditure will have to be incurred. Both Jyostna and her children would be needing some amount for getting medicine if they fall ill. Whether all these things can be fulfilled within Rs. 300/- or Rs. 200/- per month? Answer is no.
7. It is true that a young healthy woman would do something for her surviving. But she is entitled to get wherewithal from her husband if she happens to be his wedded wife and deserted or neglected without providing her a wherewithal. She is entitled to have alimony not only for keeping her body and soul in tact with virtue but she will be requiring some money for auxiliary needs of womanhood also. Law does not permit such hapless deserted woman to search for sanctuary or remain on roads. What they are entitled to get as per law will have to be given to them and that too with sufficiency and decency keeping in view the dignity of womanhood.
8. The learned Magistrate has ignored these factors while granting alimony. He has committed gross error of granting alimony to petitioner Jyotsna to the tune of Rs. 300/- per month and to her children at the rate of Rs. 200/- per month. That amount needs to be increased to Rs. 500/- per month each.
9. Cost of Rs. 250/- for fighting a litigation is a matter to think seriously. The Court will have to keep in mind the changed atmosphere. The stamp duty is increased. Lawyer’s fee is also increased. The litigant has to attend the Court on each date of hearing and that costs him lot of expenditure in transport and keeping him alert by taking tea, etc. That expenditure has to be taken into consideration. Therefore, the cost of litigation is increased from Rs. 250/- to Rs. 1000/-.
10. Thus, the petition is allowed. The order passed by the learned Magistrate around which this petition is revolving stands confirmed so far as his conclusions are concerned. However, it stand modified so far as rate of alimony and cost of ligation is concerned.
11. Parties to act on ordinary copy of the order duly authenticated by the Private Secretary of this Court.