Supreme Court: Addressing the serious issue of delay in adjudication by the family courts for provision of maintenance to a wife in need, the Court, lashing out sternly on the laxity, observed that such delays defeat not only the legislative command but also creates unimaginable hardships for the wife and children whose only hope depends upon the maintenance they are rightfully entitled to. Referring many of its earlier decisions on the point of maintenance, the Court stated that Section 125 CrPC and Section 7 of Family Court Act, 1984 are social legislation aimed at providing speedy relief to the wife by way of maintenance to sustain herself and her children.

Expressing severe disappointment on the way the instant case for maintenance stretched for 9 yrs due to routine adjournments by the family court thereby presenting a picture of complete disdain of the principle embodied in Section 125 CrPC and Section 7 of Family Court Act, 1984 the Court directed that the family courts should remain alert and decide such matters expeditiously keeping in mind the objects and reasons of Section 125 CrPC and Section 7 of Family Court Act, 1984

The stern reaction of the Court resulted from the instant case where the case for maintenance was filed in 2002 and finally decided by the Family Court, Jaipur in 2011 ordering the maintenance to be given from the date of order which was reversed by the Rajasthan HC by ordering the maintenance to be paid from the date of the application The Appellant counsel Jay Kishor Singh termed the HC order as unjust which was refuted by Ruchi Kohli, the respondent counsel, who contended that due to repeated adjournments resulting in delay the wife sustained herself and her son with great difficulty. The Court, observing the laxity of the Family Court and the resultant delay of 9 years, upheld the decision of the High Court and ordered the payment of maintenance along with arrears. Bhuwan Mohan Singh v. Meena, Criminal Appeal No. 1331 of 2014, decided on 15.07.2014

To read the full judgment, refer SCCOnLine

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