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Friday, February 23, 2024

Marriage Validity Not Considered in Maintenance Claim Cases: High court.

The Karnataka High Court has recently given an important order that the courts cannot decide on the validity of marriage in the case of alimony petition filed in the background of family feud.

A bench headed by Justice S Rachaiah heard the criminal review petition filed by a woman.

Considering the statement of witnesses and other evidence, it is clear that Soumya (name changed) was married to Ravi (name changed). Only if an application has been filed regarding the validity of the marriage, the court has to examine it and issue an order. Courts cannot examine the validity of the marriage while filing an application for alimony.Court has jurisdiction to hear (satra) the evidentiary appeal of the wife as to whether she is entitled to maintenance from her husband. Also, once the trial Court (JMFC) issues an order regarding maintenance, if it is proved that the wife is capable of maintaining herself, the Appellate Court (Satra) can amend or set aside the order passed.But, if it passes any order regarding the validity of the marriage, it will be beyond its jurisdiction. Thus, in the present case, the High Court said in its order that it was not correct for the trial court to have decided on the validity of the marriage beyond its jurisdiction.

Further, the order issued by the Trial Court (JMFC) regarding the payment of alimony was also invalidated by the High Court, which quashed the order of the trial court and upheld the order of the JMFC.

Counsel for Soumya argued that the District and Sessions Court went beyond its jurisdiction to decide on the validity of the marriage. Soumya has a voter ID card which clearly shows that Ravi is her husband. That identity card was not obtained by mild fraud.In the case, Soumya’s relative Chandappa Biradar conducted the marriage and confirmed the relationship of the couple (Ravi and Soumya). However, the order of the trial court decided the validity of the marriage beyond its jurisdiction. He contended that the said order is defective and deserves to be set aside.

Counsel for Ravi, the order of the Sessions Court is appropriate. The statements of the witnesses are confusing and contradictory. Soumya fails to prove that she is legally married to Ravi. Therefore, it was requested that the application should be dismissed.

Background of the Case: Ravi and Soumya were married 15 years ago. In 2013, Soumya had filed a petition in the JMFC court, claiming that her parents had given her husband money and gold jewelery as dowry during the marriage. Despite that, the husband kept harassing her by demanding additional dowry.Even breakfast was not given for many days. Her husband threw her out of the house at the instigation of her mother and sister. She filed an application under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act seeking a direction to the husband to pay maintenance.

On 26 October 2016, the Vijayapur JMFC court, which heard the matter, directed Ravi to pay a monthly maintenance of Rs 3,000 to his wife. Ravi filed an appeal seeking cancellation of this order.On May 29, 2018, the Vijayapur 1st Additional District and Sessions Court, which heard the appeal, held that Soumya had failed to prove that she was legally married to Ravi (petitioner) and quashed the JMFC order. Challenging this order, Soumya filed a criminal review petition in the High Court.

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