Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Sanjeev Sachdeva, J. allowed a criminal revision petition filed by the petitioner-wife against the order of the trial court listing the matter for evidence.

It was an admitted fact that the trial court had earlier heard the arguments on interim maintenance application filed by the petitioner and then listen the matter for orders. The parties were directed to file income affidavits. On a subsequent date, the matter was referred to mediation which was unsuccessful. Thereafter, the trial court listen to the matter for evidence.

Ankit Mutreja, Advocate representing the petitioner, challenged the order of listing the matter for evidence since no order on interim maintenance application was yet passed by the trial court. Per contra, Sheenu Chauhan, Advocate for the respondent-husband, contended that the petitioner was not entitled to grant of any maintenance.

In view of the High Court, it was incumbent upon the trial court to consider the application for grant of interim maintenance, and it should not delay or refuse to decide the application. It was said: “Final adjudication of the maintenance application is dependent upon parties leading evidence and may take some time. If the trial court declines or delays disposal of the application for grant of interim maintenance, it would defeat the very purpose of the enactment.” The Court reiterated that maintenance is granted to a wife/dependant who is unable to maintain herself and if there is delay in disposing of the application for grant of interim maintenance, the wife/dependant would be without any support and would not be able to survive and as such it is necessary that such an application is disposed of at the earliest.

On facts of the present case, the Court held: “The order sheet reveals that arguments had been heard by the trial court on interim maintenance application but the main case was listed for evidence without disposing of the application for interim maintenance. The trial court, as noticed above, should have decided on the plea of grant of interim maintenance with promptitude.” It was also noted that the objections raised by the respondent were pleas on merits of the matter, which were yet to be adjudicated upon by the trial court, and were not relevant for disposal of the present petition.

In such view of the matter, the petition was allowed and the trial court was directed to decide the application seeking interim maintenance within a period of one month from the next date of hearing. [Anu Rani v. Vishwantra Dhama, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 9139, decided on 15-07-2019]