Strict proof of marriage not necessary for the purpose of S. 125 CrPC

Gauhati High Court: The Court was recently addressing a criminal revision petition against an order of the Additional Sessions Judge setting aside the order of the lower court to grant maintenance to petitioner under Section 125 CrPC. The petitioner told the Court that she married the respondent by executing a registered agreement at Guwahati, and, after the agreement was executed, he had put vermilion on her forehead accepting her as his wife in presence of village people and thereafter, stayed in his house for four days.

However, she had also alleged that she was tortured by her in-laws and kicked out from the house after 4 days with a warning from brother and sister of respondent to never come back. On the other hand, the respondent had outrightly denied the taking place of marriage claiming that the petitioner is not his wife and thus, not entitled to any maintenance.

Counsel for the petitioner placed his reliance upon Savitaben Somabhai Bhatiya v. State of Gujarat,  (2005) 3 SCC 636 in which the Apex Court had held that the execution of the marriage agreement and putting vermilion on the forehead of the petitioner by the respondent, the marriage procedure was followed and no further proof was required to file a claim under Section 125 CrPC.

On hearing both the parties, Hitesh Kumar Sarma, J. observed that the trial court appears to have thoroughly gone through the facts and evidences in the case. The Court took note of the fact that the respondent himself as witness examined by the trial court admitted the execution of the marriage agreement between him and the present petitioner. The Court came to the conclusion that in a proceeding under Section 125 CrPC, as held by the Supreme Court, strict proof of marriage is not necessary and accordingly, allowed the revision petition. [Sabita Deka v. Babul Deka, 2017 SCC OnLine Gau 714, decided on 04.09.2017]

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