Case Summary

Abhilasha v. Parkash [2020 SCC Online SC 736]

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This Case Summary is written by Mayank rathor, a student at New Law College, Pune

Table Of Content

  • Introduction and background
  • Fact of case
  • Argument
  • Appellate argument
  • Respondent argument 
  • Issue
  • Case laws referred by the supreme court
  • Judgment
  • Critical analysis of the judgment
  • Conclusion

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

The law of maintenance has its own importance. According to general and social concept of maintenance, it is the duty of man to maintain his entire family. In legal sense maintenance is the amount which is paid by a man to his dependent wife, children or parents to maintain themselves. 

Section 3( b) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance act defines maintenance ,1956. The concept of maintenance is not only recognised by all the personal law but also by the code of criminal procedure, 1973. However, the applicability of the

maintenance under personal law refers to the people belonging to that particular religion while a plea for maintenance under criminal procedure code, 1973 can be filled by the person irrespective of the caste, creed and religion. 

Abhilasha v. Parkash , is a appeal decided by the 3 judge bench of supreme Court, consisting of Hon’ble justice Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M. r. shah. 

In the present case, a situation is arise whether the court can exercised the jurisdiction under section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance act, 1956.when a maintenance application filed under section 125 of Cr.P.C. The court give the view that an unmarried hindu daughter can claim maintenance from her father till she married relying on section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance act, 1956 provided she pleads and proves that she is unable to maintain herself and nor under section 125 of Cr.P.C. .

Whether the unmarried major daughter claim maintain under section 125 of  Cr.P.C. although she is not suffering from any physical or mental abnormality or injury. 

Fact of Case

An application of maintenance filed by the mother of the appellant under section on 125 of  Cr.P.C. on behalf of herself, her two sons and the appellant ( daughter) against her husband (Parkash), claiming maintenance for herself and her three children. The learned judiciary magistrate of first class dismissed the application filed under section 125 of Cr.P.C. against appellant mother and her two brothers, but allowed the same for appellant for grant of maintenance till she attains the age of majority. Against this judgment, all the four applicants filled a criminal revision before the court of Sessions judge and the same was dismissed by the additional session judge with only modification that appellant was entitled to receive maintenance till 26 April 2005 instead of 7 February 2005,which was the date when she attain majority. Challenging the order of Sessions judge as well the judicial magistrate, an application under section 482 Cr.P.C. was filled before the high court by all the applicants, the same was dismissed by the high court. Aggrieved from the order passed by the high court, an appeal was filed by the appellant (Abhilasha) who is the daughter of respondent. 

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Appellant’s Argument

The appellant in the supreme Court, argued that even though the appellant had attained majority on 26 April 2005 , but since she is unmarried, she is entitled to claim maintenance from her father. Learned senior counsel contends thar high court committed error in dismissing the application fiked under section 482 of Cr.P.C. of the appellant on wrong premise that since appellant had attained majority and is not suffering from any physical or mental abnormality, she is not entitled for any maintenance. Learned senior counsel relied on provision of section 20 of the Hindu Adoption And Maintenance act, 1956 and submits that as per section 20 obligation of a person to maintain his daughter, who is unmarried extends till she is married. Learned senior counsel relies on judgment of this Court in Jagdish Jugtawat Vs. Manju Lata and Others in support of her submission. She submits that High Court committed error in taking a contrary view to the above judgment of this Court. Ms. Learned senior counsel submits that appellant is still unemployed, hence, she is entitled to claim maintenance from her father.

Respondent’s Argument

The counsel for the respondent agree with the submission of the learned senior counsel for the appellant contends that Courts below have rightly confined the claim of the maintenance of the appellant till she attains majority on 26.04.2005. It is submitted that as per Section 125 Cr.P.C. entitlement to claim maintenance by daughter, who has attained majority is confined to case where the person by reason of any physical or mental abnormality or injury unable to maintain herself. Revisional Court has returned a finding that there is no case that appellant is by reason of any physical or mental abnormality or injury is unable to maintain herself. It is submitted that High Court has rightly dismissed the application filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C. of the appellant since no case was made out to interfere in orders passed by the Judicial Magistrate and learned Revisional Court in exercise of jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C.

Issues

  1. Whether the appellant, who although had attained majority and is still unmarried is entitled to claim maintenance from her father in proceedings under Section 125 Cr.P.C. although she is not suffering from any physical or mental abnormality/injury? 
  2. Whether the orders passed by learned Judicial Magistrate as well as learned Revisional Court limiting the claim of the appellant to claim maintenance till she attains majority on 26.04.2005 deserves to be set aside with direction to the respondent No.1 to continue to give maintenance even after 26.04.2005 till the appellant remains unmarried? 

Case laws referred by the supreme Court

  • A number of cases were referred by the supreme Court in order to deliver this judgment. Reliance was placed on precedent to understand the scope and ambit of section 488 of Cr.P.C., 1898, section 20 of Hindu Marriage And Maintenance Act, 1956 and section 125 of Cr.P.C., 1972.
  • The Court referred to the case of Nanak Chand v. Chandra kishore Aggarwal and Others, the Court held that there is no inconsistency between section 488 of Cr.P.C. and the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance act and both can stand together. This Court further held that section 488 Cr.P.C. and the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance act and both can stand together. This Court further held that section 488 of Cr.P.C. provides a summary remedy and is applicable to alll persons belonging to all religion and has no relationship with the personal law of the parties. 
  • Next case referred by the Court is Ram Singh v. State, Allahabad high court took the view that section 18 of Hindu Adoption and Minority act, 1956 cannot be substitute for section 488 of Cr.P.C. , 1898. Court observe as follows
  • “There is nothing in the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act to suggest expressly or by necessary implication that the Act is intended to be a substitute for the provisions of Section 488 Cr.P.C. In fact the provisions of Section 18 of the Act cannot be a substitute for Section 488 Cr.P.C.”
  • Next case referred by the Court is Nalini Ranjan v. Kiran Rani, Patna high court held that section 488 of Cr.P.C. provided a separate remedy and section 488 of Cr.P.C. covered the civil liability of an husband under the personal law. 
  • Next case referred by the court is Mahabir Agarwalla v. Gita Roy, . Court has made the following observation. 

“An alternative but not inconsistent summary remedy was provided by section 488 of the Cr.P.C.not only to the Hindu wife but generally to wives irrespective of religion for recovery of maintenance from the  husband. The two remedies were, however, not co-extensive.”

  • Next case discussed by the Court is Jagadish Jugtawat v. Manju and other. In this case, the family Court allowed maintenance for minor girl till she married under section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance act, 1956. The relevant portion of the judgment of the high court os quoted here

“ it cannot be said that the order impugned runs counter to the law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the provisions of section 125 CrPC are applicable irrespective of the personal law and it does not make any distinction whether the daughter claiming maintenance is a Hindu or a Muslim. However, taking an overall view of the matter, I, with all respect to the Hon’ble Court, am of the candid view that the provisions require literal interpretation and a daughter would cease to have the benefit of the provisions under section 125 CrPC on attaining majority, though she would be entitled to claim the benefits further under the statute/personal law. But the Court is not inclined to interfere, as the order does not result in miscarriage of justice, rather interfering with the order would create great inconvenience to Respondent 3 as she would be forced to file another petition under sub-section (3) of section 20 of the Act of 1956 for further maintenance etc. Thus, in order to  avoid multiplicity of litigations, the order impugned does not warrant interference.”

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Judgment

The Supreme Court after listening to both sides of the story and examining the witnesses came to the conclusion as to the first issue that the right of unmarried daughter under section 20 to claim maintenance from her father when she is unable to maintain herself is absolute and the right given to unmarried daughter under section 20 is right granted under personal law, which can very well be enforced by her against her father, unmarried daughter is clearly entitled from maintenance from her father till she is married even though she has become major, which is statutory right recognised by section 20(3) and can be enforced by unmarried daughter in accordance with law.

The court held in related to second issue that the judicial magistrate while deciding proceedings under section 125 Cr.P.C. could not have exercised the jurisdiction under section 20(3) of act, 1956 and the submission of the appellant cannot be accepted that the court below should have allowed the application for maintenance even though she has become major. We do not find any infirmity in the order of the judicial magistrate first class as well as learned addition magistrate in not granting maintenance to appellant who has become major. Further the court accept the submission of the learned counsel for the appellant that as preposition of law, an unmarried hindu daughter can claim maintenance from her father till  is married relying on section 20(3) of the act, 1956, provided she pleads and prove that she is unable to maintain herself . 

Critical analysis of judgment

The court decision under this case is appropriate because, the application made by appellant counsel under section 125 of Cr.P.C which provide maintenance for daughter till she attained majority and also after majority if she is mentally or physical incapable of maintain herself. Section 20(3) have no Overriding effect over section 125 . Both are exist together. The decision make it clear that under which court the person Institute a suit for maintenance according to its need and convenience.

The case made it clear in the suit of maintenance that 

  • If the parties to suit belong to city or town whose population exceeds one million then they must filed case in family court who has  jurisdiction to decide a case under Section 125 Cr.P.C. as well as the suit under Section 20 of Hindu Adoption amd Maintenance Act, 1956, in such case , Family Court can exercise jurisdiction under both the Acts and in an appropriate case can grant maintenance to unmarried daughter even though she has attained the age of majority. 
  • If there is no family court, proceedings under section 125 of Cr.P.C. shall have to be before the magistrate of the first class
  •  If Family Court is not established, a suit or proceedings for maintenance including the proceedings under Section 20 of the Act, 1956 shall only be before the District Court or any subordinate Civil Court.

Conclusion

 A Hindu is under a legal obligation to maintain his parents, his wife, his unmarried daughters, and his minor child whether he possesses any property or not. If a person is healthy and able – bodies ,he must be held you have means to support his wife, children and parents The obligation to maintain these relations is personal in character and arises from the  Very existence of the relation between the parties. The purpose of Section 125 Cr.P.C.  is to provide immediate relief through summary proceedings, whereas under Section 20 read with Section 3(b) of Act, 1956 contains larger right, which need to be decided by a Civil Court. Decision of judiciary magistrate of first class for not providing maintenance to appellant under section 20 of Hindu adoption and maintenance act was rightly decided. Every Court have to decide the case with in their sphere of power, so that power of different Court not overlapped and not cause miscarriage to justice system. However in the present case  justice be served by giving liberty to the appellant to  file the suit for maintenance under Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, if so advised, for claiming any maintenance against her father.

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