Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: Biswajit Basu, J. dismissed a revision application of the filed by a lady seeking alimony pendente lite.

The husband/respondent and the wife herein had filed a matrimonial suit seeking dissolution of their marriage by a decree of divorce, inter alia, on the grounds of cruelty. In the said suit, the wife had filed an application before the learned trial judge under Section 36 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 praying alimony pendente lite at the rate of Rs 50,000 per month. The wife alleged that the husband is working in a reputed organization in the USA and was earning around Rs 75,00,000 per annum. Thus, she was entitled to maintenance proportionate to the income of the husband. However, after assessing her salary certificates for December 2018, January 2019 and March 2019, the learned judge opined that the present income of the wife is not less than Rs 74000 being sufficient for her support particularly when she herself assessed her requirement at Rs 50,000 in the application for alimony pendente lite.  And as Section 36 provides for temporary financial support pending any action under Chapter V or VI of the said Act “to the wife who has no independent income sufficient to maintain herself”, refused the prayer of the wife for alimony pendente lite.

The High Court dismissed the case, holding the decision of the learned trial Judge as absolutely justified.[Somdatta Chatterjee nee Raychaudhari v. Anindya Chatterjee, 2019 SCC OnLine Cal 1627, decided on 11-06-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: A Bench of A.S. Bopanna, CJ and Sanjay Kumar Medhi, J. dismissed an appeal filed by the appellant-husband against family court’s order granting alimony of Rs 2.5 lakhs to the respondent-wife.

Undisputed facts of the case are that the parties were formerly married to each other. Some marital disputes arose and the husband filed a petition seeking divorce which was granted by the family court. Subsequent to the divorce decree, the wife filed a petition under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 seeking permanent alimony of Rs 15 lakhs. Partly allowing the wife’s application, the family court awarded her alimony of Rs 2.5 lakhs. Aggrieved thereby, the husband filed the present appeal.

Dipika Kalita and Rumi Kalita, Advocates for the husband told the Court that during the pendency of the husband’s divorce petition, the parties entered into an agreement whereby the wife conceded to the prayer for divorce. Further, she also agreed that there would be no claim between the parties against each other. It was contended that the family court’s order was not justified.

Regarding the alleged agreement, the family court observed and the High Court noted that what was submitted in the divorce proceedings was a photocopy of the said agreement. The family court took note of the same and concluded that it was not enforceable. The High Court observed, “the law is well settled that the maintenance or the alimony to be granted is to enable the party who seeks the same subsequent to the dissolution of the marriage to maintain herself. At that stage, what would be relevant is as to whether the party seeking for such maintenance or alimony is able to maintain herself.” As such, the High Court was of the opinion that the family court rightly held that the wife was entitled to receive alimony. Also, no error was found with the quantum of alimony so granted. Holding it to be devoid of merits, the Court dismissed the appeal. [Utpal Das v. Rinki Sarkar, 2019 SCC OnLine Gau 1048, dated 08-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: Rumi Kumari Phukan, J., dismissed a revision petition filed by a husband against the order of the family court whereby the monthly amount payable by him towards the maintenance of his son was increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000.

A petition between the parties was disposed of by the family court whereby the husband was directed to pay monthly maintenance of Rs 2,500 to his wife and Rs 2,000 to their minor son. Subsequently, the parties got divorced under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The husband paid a permanent alimony of Rs 5 lakhs to the wife. After the divorce, the wife filed a petition under Section 127 CrPC for enhancement of maintenance allowance to the minor son which was allowed by the family court in the terms mentioned above. Aggrieved thereby, the husband filed the present petition.

K.M. Haloi, B. Das and R. Sarkar, Advocates for the husband submitted that the enhancement of 300% was on a higher side and he had other liabilities to discharge. Per contra, K. Bhattacharjee, S. Das, J.C. Barman, D. Banerjee and S. Dey, Advocates appearing for the wife contended that the objection raised by the husband was not maintainable.

After taking the husband’s salary into consideration, the High Court was of the view that the enhancement of the maintenance by the court below did not require interference. The observed, “in the context of liability, the maintenance always carries the meaning that it should be adequate to the needs of a person and according to the status and income of the person concerned. The child of the petitioner who was enrolled in an English Medium School cannot be stopped to carry on such education by showing inability by his parents. It is bounded duty of a father to upbringing the child in a befitting manner without hindering his mental health as well as physical one. If the father denies such required amount, it will be nothing but denial of such mandatory requirement of a child for proper upbringing.” In such view of the matter, the revision petition was dismissed and the husband was directed to pay Rs 5,000 per month maintenance for the minor son. [Rupak Chowdhury v. State of Assam, 2019 SCC OnLine Gau 933, dated 22-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, J. allowed a challenge to the order of Additional District Judge for execution of an order passed under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The facts of the case are such that the Additional District Judge, while taking up an execution case in connection with an alimony order passed under the Hindu Marriage Act, suffered an identity crisis and acted as a Magistrate to invoke provisions of Section 125(3) CrPC and allied provisions to issue a distress warrant against the husband. The Collector was directed to realise the maintenance allowance as arrears of land revenue. The husband assailed the order as sans jurisdiction.

The High Court, at the outset, observed that it is unheard of that an order passed under Section 24 HMA would be executed by taking resort to the provisions of CrPC. In view of the Court, this was a case the execution application was filed under the correct provisions of law, but the Additional District Judge consciously resorted to powers which have no nexus with the proceedings under consideration; the powers that are conferred on a Magistrate and not on an Additional District Judge. As such, it was held that the order impugned was devoid of inherent jurisdiction and could not stand a moment’s scrutiny. Accordingly, the order impugned was set aside. The Additional District Judge was directed to dispose of the matter in accordance with appropriate provisions of law. [Taraknath Mukherjee v. Sandhya Mukherjee, 2018 SCC OnLine Cal 6154, dated 07-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: A Division Bench comprising of I.P. Mukerji and Amrita Sinha, JJ., allowed an appeal filed by the husband against the order of District Judge who directed him to pay permanent alimony of Rs 14 lakhs to the respondent wife.

Marriage between the parties to the appeal was dissolved by a decree passed by a District Judge in a suit filed by the husband under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The suit was allowed against the wife on grounds of adultery and desertion. It was proved that the wife was in an adulterous relationship with a junior colleague of the husband. The wife filed an application for permanent alimony under Section 25, which was allowed by the District Judge and the order was passed as mentioned above. Aggrieved by the said order, the husband filed the present appeal.

The High Court perused Section 25 and found that grant of permanent alimony is subject to conditions. If at the time of deciding an application under the section, the wife is unchaste or has remarried, then the court may deny to grant the application. In the present case, the Court found that the wife was living in adultery which is unchaste conduct. Such conduct of the wife disentitled her from receiving any amount A permanent alimony and maintenance under Section 25. However, the husband was directed to pay 5 lakhs against maintenance of their son. The appeal was, thus, disposed of in above terms. [Ashutosh Bandhopadhyay v. Mukta Bandhopadhyay,2018 SCC OnLine Cal 5100, dated 31-07-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A bench of N.V. Ramana and S. Abdul Nazeer JJ., modified the order of the High Court of Bombay in a divorce petition filed seeking for the modification of the maintenance and alimony amount.

The facts of the case state that the appellant (wife) had filed a petition under Section 27(1)(d) of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 before the Family Court in Mumbai seeking permanent alimony of Rs 30,00,00,000/- and interim maintenance of Rs 3,50,000/- for herself along with Rs 2,50,000/- for her minor daughter. Though, the Family Court had partly allowed the appellant’s application for interim maintenance. On obtaining the final order of divorce from the family Court and being dissatisfied with the same, the parties preferred an appeal to the High Court. Further, the appellant being aggrieved of the order of the High Court approached the Supreme Court seeking relief.

Therefore, the Supreme Court on considering the facts and orders passed by the High Court and Family court observed that considering the merits of the order of the High Court it did not require interference. In order to balance the interests of the parties, the Supreme Court modified the High Court’s order by allowing the withdrawal of Rs 2 Crores by the wife during intra-appeal as an interim measure. [Udita Nabha v. Ranjeet Nabha,2018 SCC OnLine SC 695, dated 16-07-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the case where the wife made reckless, defamatory and false accusations against her husband, his family members and colleagues, thereby lowering his reputation in the eyes of his peers, the Court held that mere filing of complaints is not cruelty, if there are justifiable reasons to file the complaints. Merely because no action is taken on the complaint or after trial the accused is acquitted may not be a ground to treat such accusations of the wife as cruelty within the meaning of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955. However, if it is found that the allegations are patently false, then there can be no manner of doubt that the said conduct of a spouse levelling false accusations against the other spouse would be an act of cruelty.

Considering the fact that later, the wife had filed another complaint alleging that her husband along with some other persons had trespassed into her house and assaulted her and that the police found, on investigation, that not only was the complaint false but also the injuries were self-inflicted by the wife, the Court held that though the acts of the wife in filing false complaints against the husband amounts to cruelty, the Court is, however, not oblivious to the requirements of the wife to have a decent house where she can live and since, her son and daughter-in-law may not continue to live with her forever, therefore, some permanent arrangement has to be made for her alimony and residence. As per the facts of the case, the wife continues to live in the house which belongs to the mother of the husband whereas the husband lives along with his parents in a separate house and the son and daughter-in-law of the parties live with the wife. The son is working with the husband.

The Bench of A.K. Goel and Deepak Gupta, JJ, hence, directed the husband to pay to the wife a sum of Rs. 50,00,000 as one time permanent alimony within 3 months and she will not claim any further amount at any later stage. The Court also directed that the wife shall continue to live in the house which belongs to the mother of the husband till the husband provides her a flat of similar size in a similar locality. For this purpose, the husband is directed to ensure that a flat of the value up to Rs. 1,00,00,000 be transferred in the name of his wife. [Raj Talreja v. Kavita Talreja, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 462, decided on 24.04.2017]