Tripura High Court: S. Talapatra, J., while addressing a matter with regard to provision of maintenance, observed that,
When one statute ensures maintenance for the person to be in the relationship in the nature of marriage, the other statute cannot be interpreted to abrogate the provision relating to grant of maintenance.
Petitioner has questioned the legality of Judgment passed by the Family Court, West Tripura Agartala on 17-06-2019, wherein the petitioner was asked to pay maintenance of Rs 4000 to the respondent.
Crux of the challenge
Marriage of a woman with a man while his spouse is alive and their marital relation has not come to an end, the marriage is a complete nullity.
Thus, any court invoking its jurisdiction under Section 125 of the CrPC cannot pass two different maintenance orders against the person considering two women as his spouse. Thus, it has been contended that the respondent is not entitled to maintenance.
Petitioner was married to Sabitri Das at the time of the alleged marriage with respondent, the marriage with respondent in this situation is not even legal.
Even though the petitioner had a spouse living at the relevant point of time, but the fact was grossly suppressed from the respondent at the time of the marriage.
Purpose of Section 125 of the CrPC is well noted in K. Vimal v. K. Veeraswammy, (1991) 2 SCC 375 in the following words:
“Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is meant to achieve a social purpose. The object is to prevent vagrancy and destitution. It provides a speedy remedy for the supply of food, clothing and shelter to the deserted wife.”
Benjamin N. Cardozo in The Nature of Judicial Process observed that,
“…The social context judging had also been recognized in the legal maxim ut res magis valeat quam pereat. Where alternative constructions are possible, the court must give effect to that which will be responsible for smooth-working of the system for which purpose the statute has been enacted rather than one which will put a road block in its way.”
A woman who lived like a wife and in the perception she was treated as the wife cannot be deprived of the maintenance. For this purpose a co-terminus provision for granting maintenance may be looked into and a uniformity in the definition may be brought in.
In the present matter, respondent was not aware of the fact that the petitioner was already married, but they both have lived for 10 years as husband and wife.
Petitioner failed to disprove the above-stated and in view of the said no infirmity was found in the Family Court’s decision.
High Court has added to its decision that,
Failure in making payment shall be dealt with sternly.[Sri Bibhuti Ranjan Das v. Gouri Das, 2020 SCC OnLine Tri 280 , decided on 07-07-2020]