Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 — Sections 12, 20 & 2(f) –

July 11th, 2013

Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 — Sections 12, 20 & 2(f) — Interim maintenance to wife — Production of certificate for subsisting marriage of woman with third person without declaration of annulment of marriage with husband in question (subsequent husband) by a competent court — Effect on maintenance — Appellant/wife was granted interim maintenance by trial court which was affirmed by Sessions Judge — Subsequently Respondent/husband came to know about first marriage of appellant with some other person and produced marriage certificate under Section 13 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 before High Court — High Court by the impugned order held that as the appellant was not the legally wedded wife of the respondent she was not entitled to maintenance — Challenged by wife — Held, in the absence of any valid decree of nullity or the necessary declaration the court will have to proceed on the footing that the relationship between the parties is one of marriage and not in the nature of marriage — Any determination of the validity of the marriage between the parties could have been made only by a competent court in an appropriate proceeding by and between the parties and in compliance with all other requirements of law — Mere production of a marriage certificate issued under Section 13 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 in support of the marriage of the appellant with third person was not sufficient for any of the courts, including the High Court, to render a complete and effective decision with regard to the marital status of the parties and that too in a collateral proceeding for maintenance — Consequently, it is held that until the invalidation of the marriage between the appellant and the respondent is made by a competent court it would only be correct to proceed on the basis that the appellant continues to be the wife of the respondent so as to entitle her to claim all benefits and protection available under the DV Act, 2005 — Accordingly, it is held that the interference made by the High Court with the grant of maintenance in favour of the appellant was not at all justified — Order passed by the High Court is set aside — Appeals are allowed — Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 — Section 11 — Decision on marital status of the parties in maintenance proceedings — Impermissibility of.

Yamunabai v. Anantrao, AIR 1988 SC 645, M.M. Malhotra v. Union of India, 2005(8) SCC 351, Subash Babu v. State of Andhra Pradesh & Anr., 2011(7) SCC 616 & D. Velusamy vs. D.Patchaimmal, (2010)10 SCC 469, Referred.

(Para 19 & 21)

Deoki Panjhiyara v. Shashi Bhushan Narayan Azad[Bench Strength 2], Criminal Appeal Nos. 2032-2033/2012 (Arising out of SLP (Criminal) Nos. 8076-8077/2010(12/12/2012), 2013 AIR(SC) 346: 2012(12) JT 575: 2012(12) SCALE 282: 2012(9) SLT 341: 2012(8) Supreme 639: 2013 CrLJ 684: 2013(2) SCC 137: 2013(1) JCC 508: 2013(2) SCV(Civil) 109 [P. Sathasivam, J.: Ranjan Gogoi, J.]

Entry Filed under: Matrimonial Laws

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