Court: MADHYA PRADESH HIGH COURT
Bench: JUSTICE N.K. Gupta
RAM PRASAD Vs. GEETA MEHRA On 9 January 2014
Maintenance — Non-entitlement — Perverse orders passed in favour of respondent-wife — Respondent left matrimonial home without any justifiable ground and she refused to come back — Orders passed by Courts below reversed and set aside — Applicant not entitled to get maintenance amount back already paid to respondent in compliance of orders passed by Court below.
1. A maintenance of Rs. 1,200 was granted to the respondent vide order dated 30.6.2006 passed by the learned JMFC, Betul in M.J.C.No. 157/2004. That order was also confirmed in criminal appeal No. 106/2005 vide order dated 7.6.2006 passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Betul. Being aggrieved with the aforesaid orders, the applicant has preferred the present revision.
2. The facts of the case, in short, are that, the respondent has moved an application under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. that her marriage took place on 10.3.2005. She was kept with comfort for a month. Thereafter, the applicant and his family members had harassed her for demand of dowry. She remained in her matrimonial house for 3 months. On 26.6.2003, her father brought her to his house. However, thereafter, the applicant did not take any interest to bring her back and he left her at her father’s house for one year. Under such circumstances, the respondent prayed for a maintenance of Rs. 2,500.
3. In reply, the applicant has pleaded that after marriage, the respondent refused to have physical relations in the night of honeymoon. She was quarrelsome with the applicant. On 26.6.2003, she went with one Shahid Khan with the pretext that she would come back on 3rd July and thereafter, she did not come. The applicant tried to take her back but, all such efforts done by the applicant were went in vain. The applicant mentioned about his efforts in detail. He had moved an application before Pariwar Pramarsh Kendra, Betul but, the respondent did not appear. The applicant has pleaded that he was a labourer and he could earn a sum of Rs. 800 to Rs. 1,000 per month and he had a liability of his old mother and younger brother and sister, whereas the respondent was earning a handsome amount by stitching, etc.
4. The learned JMFC, after considering the evidence adduced by the parties, granted a maintenance of Rs. 1,200 per month to the respondent, whereas the revision filed by the applicant was dismissed by the learned Second Additional Sessions Judge, Betul.
5. I have heard the learned Counsel for the parties.
6. After considering the submissions made by learned Counsel for the parties and looking to the facts and circumstances of the case, 3 main issues are visible in the present case to be decided by this Court. Firstly, as to whether the respondent was capable to maintain herself. Secondly, whether the applicant had sufficient income to provide the maintenance of Rs. 1,200 per month to the respondent and thirdly, whether the respondent was entitled to get maintenance without living with the applicant. For consideration of the first issue, the evidence given by Geeta (P.W.1) may be considered, in which she denied that she was doing any work or earning anything for her. However, Dashrath (P.W.2) father of the respondent has accepted in para 11 that the respondent was stitching the clothings of the persons of the locality and she was keeping the income earned by stitching. She had a diploma in stitching, prior to her marriage. Under such circumstances, it was for the respondent to show that what was her income and she was unable to maintain herself in that income. Ram Prasad (D.W.1) has stated that he had a earning of Rs. 1,000 per month and he told that the respondent was getting a handsome amount by stitching clothes of others. He was suggested that the respondent was earning a sum of Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 per month. However, there was no basis shown for that suggestion. Under such circumstances, looking to the evidence of Dashrath, father of the respondent, it shall be presumed that the respondent was earning a sum of Rs. 1,000 per month by stitching, etc. at that time.
7. Dashrath (P.W.2) has accepted that he was working in WCL but, he did not tell anything about his income and therefore, the status of the father of the respondent could not be ascertained. However, looking to the status of the parties, it may be considered that a sum of Rs. 1,500 per month was required to the respondent for her maintenance in a month in those days and therefore, her dependency comes to be Rs. 500 per month.
8. The respondent Geeta (P.W.1) and her father Dashrath (P.W.2) have stated that the applicant was doing the job of Electrician but, no such document was produced to show that he was doing so. On the contrary, the applicant Ram Prasad (D.W.1) has stated that he was doing the job of labourer and, therefore, his income was Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1,500 and he had a liability of her mother and one sister and one brother. Both the Courts below have committed an error in not getting the collector rate fixed for an unskilled labourer in those days. However, it is a case of the year 2003 to 2005 and, therefore, by considering that period, it could be presumed that there was a collector rate of Rs. 50 per day relating to the wages of an unskilled labourer and therefore, the respondent could not prove that the applicant was earning more than Rs. 1,500 per month for him. After considering the liability of the applicant, he could pay a sum of Rs. 300 to Rs. 400 per month to the respondent. Hence, in grant of maintenance of Rs. 1,200, both the Courts below have committed an error of assessment.
9. So far as the reason is concerned, the respondent Geeta has pleaded in her application that when she went to her parents house on 26.6.2003, the applicant never visited to bring her back and, therefore, she had lodged the application for maintenance. On the contrary, Geeta has accepted in paras 8 to 13 that on the eve of Durga Pooja, the applicant along with his aunt visited Sarni to take the respondent but, she did not go with them because she was sick. Again she accepted that after a month, the applicant went to her parents house along with 10-12 persons but, she did not visit her matrimonial house along with the applicant. Again the applicant lodged a complaint before Pariwar Pramarsh Kendra but, she did not appear before the Pariwar Pramarsh Kendra. On 14.11.2004, the applicant along with Bablu Suryawanshi went to Sarni to bring her but, she did not visit to the house of the applicant. According to the admission done by the respondent, it would be apparent that the pleadings of the respondent that the applicant never tried to take her in one year after her last visit to her matrimonial house, appears to be incorrect. The applicant made several attempts to bring his wife back but, she did not visit to the house of the applicant and, therefore, prima facie, it appears that it was the respondent who deserted the house of the applicant.
10. The respondent Geeta has alleged that she was being harassed for dowry demand, etc. However, she has accepted that she did not tell about such dowry demand to anyone in the house. She went to her father’s house happily on 26.6.2003. She had an opportunity to discuss about that problem with the applicant when he visited to her parents house to take her. She could raise such an issue before the applicant and she could plead that she did not visit with the applicant when he came to take her because she was being tortured for dowry demand and harassment but, neither the respondent raised such an issue before the applicant or before anyone in the society of the respondent. Under such circumstances, her contention cannot be accepted that she was being harassed by the applicant and his family members for demand of dowry. On the contrary, it is established by the witness Garib Das (D.W.2) that behaviour of the respondent Geeta was not good with her husband and his family members. He went with the applicant to bring the respondent Geeta but, the behaviour of the respondent was just to throw out the applicant and the witness Garib Das from her house. Garib Das has stated that the respondent was avoiding the domestic work in the family and she did not want to come to the house of the applicant.
11. The respondent Geeta has accepted that she went to her parents house along with Shahid, who was neighbour of her father. She had denied the suggestion that when the applicant went to her house to bring her, she was found on bed with Shahid. The applicant could not prove that the respondent was involved with that Shahid. However, the applicant could prove that it was the respondent, who deserted him without any sufficient reason. Under such circumstances, in the light of order passed by the Single Bench of this Court in case of Anil Kachwaha v. Sunita Kachwaha and Others, (2008) 2 MPLJ (Cr.) 323, the respondent was not entitled to get any maintenance from the applicant because she left her matrimonial home without any justifiable ground and thereafter, she refused to come back.
12. Under such circumstances, it would be apparent that both the Courts below have passed the perverse orders in favour of the respondent. It is true that no re-appreciation of evidence can be done in the revision but, an interference can be done in the orders if they are perverse. To assess that the orders passed by both the Courts below were perverse, evidence laid by the parties was required to be considered. Under such circumstances, when the respondent was not entitled to get any maintenance from the applicant and the orders of maintenance passed in her favour appears to be perverse then, it is a fit case in which the revision filed by the applicant may be accepted and the orders passed by both the Courts below should be reversed. Consequently, the revision filed by the applicant is hereby allowed. The orders passed by both the Courts below are hereby set aside. Also, the maintenance application under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. filed by the respondent is dismissed. However, the applicant shall not be entitled to get the maintenance amount back which he has already paid to the respondent in compliance to the orders passed by both the Courts below.
13. A copy of the order be sent to both the Courts below along with their records for information and compliance.
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