Chhattisgarh High Court: Rajendra Chandra Singh Samant, J. sets aside the impugned order and allowed the petition.
The facts of the case are such that the respondent in a fraudulent manner obtained a decree of divorce which was granted on mutual consent. The petitioner filed First Appeal (Misc.) which was disposed of and the petitioner was granted liberty to file application under Section 151 of the CPC to challenge the decree of divorce mentioned hereinabove. The petitioner then, filed an application under Section 151 of the CPC, which was registered wherein the petitioner moved an application under Section 24 of the Act, 1955, praying for grant of maintenance during the pendency of the proceeding and the same has been dismissed by the impugned order. Aggrieved by the same, an instant petition was filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India.
Counsel for petitioners submitted that the proceeding under Section 151 of the CPC is the outcome of the proceeding of divorce, which was filed under the provisions of the Act, 1955. Therefore, the petitioner had entitlement for such maintenance during pendency of the proceeding. He further submitted that such prayer can be made in any proceeding, therefore, this proceeding under Section 151 of the CPC.
Counsel for the respondents submitted that the proceeding initiated on the application filed under Section 151 of the CPC, is not under the Act, 1955.
The Court relied on Suresh Kumar Verma v. Smt. Hemlata Verma, 2001 (2) JLJ 93 wherein it was held
“….the language used in Section 24 of the Act has to be construed in a purposive manner so that, the purpose of the Legislature is achieved. It cannot be said that the Legislature while using the words any proceeding under this Act’ intended to confine it only to the substantive proceedings. The purpose of the aforesaid provision is to provide financial assistance to the indigent spouses during their indigency. There is nothing under Section 24 of the Act to suggest that there is prohibition against matrimonial Courts from granting maintenance allowance when the main petition is not pending. If such an interpretation is allowed it will only affect the interest of the spouse who is not in a position to maintain himself or herself. A narrower interpretation would frustrate the purpose of the provision.”
The Court thus observed that the language used in Section 24 of the Act, 1955 has to be construed in a purposive manner and the proceeding under Order 9 Rule 13 of the CPC also attracts the provision under Section 24 of the Act, 1955.
The Court held that in view of the wide interpretation given to the provisions it is clear that the entitlement of the petitioner to make prayer under Section 24 of the Act, 1955 is available in the present proceeding.
In view of the above, the petition was allowed.[Rashmita Patel v. Vivekananda Patel, 2021 SCC OnLine Chh 569, decided on 05-03-2021]
Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.