Bombay High Court Rajendra Devidas Hirurkar-vs-State Of Maharashtra And Ors. on 19 July, 1999
Equivalent citations:I (2000) DMC 590
Author: J Patel
Bench: J Patel
J.N. Patel, J.
1. Heard learned Counsel for the parties.
The petitioner husband has impugned the order dated 14.10.1994 passed by the Sessions Judge, Akola, in Criminal Revision No. 39/91 which was filed by the respondent wife challenging the order passed by the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Akola, dismissing her claim for maintenance.
2. It is not disputed that the petitioner was married to respondent No. 2 Smt. Shobha on 25.6.1988. It was the case of the respondent wife that after some days of marriage she was treated with cruelty and asked to bring money from her parents. On persuasion, the parents and the brothers paid Rs. 25,000/- to the petitioner husband to purchase a house at Surat. At times the petitioner used to take her to Surat where he is working, there she came to know that the petitioner has illicit relations with one girl and she suspected that respondent wife is unchaste, and that she was sent back to Akola while she was pregnant. The respondent wife delivered a girl child Pallavi, thereafter the petitioner husband again made a demand of Rs. 10,000/- from her parents and brothers; but they could only pay Rs. 5,000/- and with the hope that the petitioner husband would give good treatment to her. Even after the demand of the petitioner husband was satisfied the respondent wife was not treated well. The petitioner husband suspected her fidelity and given threat to burn her and after snatching her all ornaments reached her to her parents; since then the respondent wife is residing with her parents. A report came to be lodged by her against the petitioner husband for having committed offence under Section 498A in which it is submitted that the petitioner husband came to be acquitted.
3. It is submitted by Mr. Deshpande, the learned Counsel for the petitioner husband that the Trial Court was justified in rejecting the claim of maintenance filed by the respondent wife on the ground that the respondent wife failed to establish her claim and her contention that she was treated with cruelty was general and laconic to act upon and that respondent wife failed to give any evidence or any specific incident of physical or mental ill-treatment and therefore the order granting maintenance deserves to be quashed and set aside.
4. Mrs. Rao, learned Counsel appearing for the respondent wife submits that the order does not call for any interference for the simple reason that the respondent wife has sufficiently established that she was treated with cruelty and was harassed and on two occasions moneys came to be extracted from her parents. It is submitted that the petitioner husband also suspected her fidelity and this was enough to make out a case of cruelty against the petitioner husband who is working as a Contractor in Surat and therefore the application filed by the petitioner deserves to be dismissed.
5. Mr. Deshpande, learned Counsel for the petitioner submits that it is not correct to say that petitioner is working as contractor, but he is a mere labourer and as there is no material on record and nor there is any prayer on behalf of respondent wife, the Court need not consider her request for enhancement of maintenance.
6. Considering the fact that the petitioner husband and respondents are residing separately, and particularly the respondent wife who is residing with a girl child and is unable to maintain, the learned Court of Sessions was justified in awarding her maintenance. The degree of proof in a maintenance proceeding cannot be that of strict liability. The very fact that the petitioner husband is residing at Surat and when the respondent wife has been to him after the child was born and the fact that the petitioner suspecting her fidelity had brought her to her parents alongwith the child and left her and thereby neglected and refused to maintain is enough to entitle the respondent wife for maintenance.
7. In the circumstances, this Court finds that the learned Sessions Judge has not committed any error or illegality in awarding the maintenance to the respondent wife and, therefore, the impugned order does not call for any interference. In respect of the enhancement of the maintenance it will not be proper to consider prayer of the learned Counsel for the respondent wife in these proceedings at this stage. It will be open for respondent wife to seek appropriate relief by filing separate application for enhancement which can be examined by the Court in accordance with law.
8. In the result, the application is dismissed with costs.