|CITATION||1 SCC 188|
|DATE OF JUDGEMENT||18 October, 2013|
|COURT||Supreme Court of India|
|RESPONDENT||Sou.Urmila Badshah Godse & Anr.|
|BENCH||Ranjana Prakash Desai, A.K. Sikri|
In the highly intriguing case of Badshah v. Urmila Badshah from 2013, the petitioner, Mr. Badshah, withheld support to his second wife and lied about his first marriage. The validity of both weddings in this instance was established, but Mr. Badshah was already wed. The conclusion that the petitioner could not be permitted to withhold support to his second wife (the respondent) was drawn from the aforementioned circumstances. Denying the second wife the ability to request maintenance due to the husband’s wrongdoing is abusing the situation and is thus improper. A court made up of Ranjana Prakash Desai and A K Sikri debated whether the respondent, the second wife, was qualified for any type of maintenance.
The respondent and the petitioner were married on February 10, 2005, at the Devgad Temple in Hivargav-Pavsa in accordance with conventional Hindu marriage ceremonies. The respondent then moved in with the petitioner and they cohabited. A woman called Shobha arrived at their home and identified herself as the petitioner’s wife when the respondent was carrying the petitioner’s kid.
The respondent asserts that the petitioner advised her to cohabit with Shobha and live quietly and peaceably with them if she wished to live with him, or to go back to her parents’ home. She made the decision to reside in the same home as the petitioner and Shobha when she was pregnant. The respondent was frequently subjected to severe physical and mental abuse at the hands of her intoxicated spouse. Because he felt the child in the respondent’s womb was not his, and because he suspected her of having connections with someone else, the petitioner abused the respondent.
Additionally, he demanded that the responder get an abortion. The respondent went back to live with her parents when the violence and maltreatment by the petitioner became intolerable. On November 28, 2005, the respondent’s daughter Shivanjali (Respondent No. 2) was born. Based on the aforementioned allegations, the respondents filed a maintenance request under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). The learned Additional Sessions Judge upheld the Trial Court’s decision to award maintenance to Respondent No. 1 at the rate of Rs. 1000 per month and to Respondent No. 2 at the rate of Rs. 500 per month.
The petitioner filed an appeal with the High Court of Judicature in Bombay, which affirmed the lower court’s ruling and issued an order on February 28, 2013. The petitioner appealed the decision and order of the Bombay High Court by submitting a special leave petition to the Supreme Court of India.
- If the respondent and the petitioner had a legitimate marriage and if she was the petitioner’s wife?
- What does Section 125 of the CrPC say about the respondent’s eligibility for maintenance?
The petitioner is related to respondents Nos. 1 and 2 as their respective husband and daughter. He asserted that he did not enter into a matrimonial alliance with respondent No. 1 on 10.2.2005 as claimed by respondent No. 1, that he was accustomed to making false accusations against him, and that he was attempting to blackmail him. He also denied cohabiting with respondent No. 1 and asserted that he was not respondent No. 2’s father. The petitioner claims that he wed Shobha on February 17, 1979, and that they had two children together—a daughter and a son—and that Shobha had lived with him ever since. Respondent-1 had submitted a fake petition claiming to be his wife throughout the duration of his previous marriage, and she was thus unable to be his wife.
Respondent No. 1 was wed to Popat Fapale, the respondents claimed in the petition. She did, however, file for divorce from her first spouse in 1997. She lived at her parents’ house from 1997, when she filed for divorce from her first husband, until 2005. • On February 10, 2005, at the Devgad Temple in Hivargav-Pavsa, she wed him after the petitioner requested it through mediators.
As stated in section 125 of the CrPC, support laws are given for spouses, children, and parents. In addition, the personal laws of Hindus, Muslims, and Christians each provide provisions for maintenance. Any individual, regardless of their faith, may invoke the law of maintenance as provided by section 125 of the CrPC.
According to Hindu Personal Law, section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 and section 18 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956 provide for the maintenance of women. The magistrate is able to take action [under section 126(1)(a), CrPC 1973, if a husband, father, or son is discovered anywhere in India, on behalf of all mistreated wives, cast-off divorcees, abandoned children, and helpless parents, regardless of their affiliation with a particular religion, community, or place of residence.
As stated by Justice Krishna Iyer in 1979, the charitable provision of section 125 has the objective “to ameliorate the economic condition of neglected wives and discarded divorcees.” The 1st class of the place has the authority to hear a petition under section 125 of the CrPC on their husbands, fathers, or sons.
James Fitz James Stephen discussed section 488 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which is comparable to current section 125, in 1882. The provision’s stated goal was “preventing vagrancy or at least of preventing.”
The circumstances of the case have established the marriage between the parties. The petitioner had been wed before. But he deceived the respondent by omitting the evidence of the putative first marriage. Given these circumstances, he cannot be allowed to take advantage of his own wrongdoing by denying the respondent the benefit of maintenance.
Under section 125 of the CrPC, the term “wife” refers to a wife who has been legally wed. This phrase cannot be used in any other context. The respondent is not permitted to plead any equity since Section 5(1)[i] of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 specifically prohibits a second marriage while the original marriage is still in existence, and because Section 125(b) of the Criminal Procedure Code includes “divorce” as a category of the claimant, meaning that only lawfully wedded wife are eligible for maintenance.
We are dealing with a situation in the circumstances of the current case where the marriage of the parties has been established. The petitioner, nevertheless, was already married. But by omitting the evidence of the putative first marriage, he deceived the respondent. On the basis of these circumstances, in our judgement, he cannot be allowed to exploit his own fault and deprive the respondent the benefit of maintenance.
Given that the parties had been cohabitating for a considerable amount of time, the question of whether there should be a presumption of marriage between the two as a result of the aforementioned circumstance emerged, giving rise to a claim for maintenance under Section 125 of the Civil Practise Code by defining the term “wife” broadly. The Court was of the opinion that a woman should be permitted to continue her application under Section 125,Cr.P.C. if the man and woman had been cohabiting for a significant amount of time even if they had not legally wed. On the other hand, in the current instance, respondent No. 1 has been able to demonstrate via convincing and convincing evidence that the petitioner and respondent No. 1 were wed.
The requirements of Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code must be interpreted with purpose. The Court is dealing with the disadvantaged groups of society when it considers the application of a destitute wife, or helpless children, or parents under this clause. As stated in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution, the goal is to establish “social justice.” This is the vision of the Constitution. The Preamble of the Indian Constitution makes it quite plain that we have chosen the democratic route under the rule of law in order to secure justice, liberty, equality, and brotherhood for all of its residents. As a result, the courts have a responsibility to further the cause of social justice. The Court’s job when providing an interpretation of a specific law is to reduce the gap between the commoners and the judicial authorities.
Ms. Urmila was intentionally misled about the circumstances surrounding Mr. Badshah and Shobha’s marriage while it was kept a secret from her. Without Ms. Urmila’s right to maintenance under Section 25, Mr. Badshah would be free to profit from his horrible deed. “This approach is particularly needed while deciding the issues relating to gender justice,” the Supreme Court stated. In this sense, we already have instances of excellent work. A typical example is the route from Shah Bano to Shabana Bano, which guaranteed maintenance rights to Muslim women. The Supreme Court denied the petitioner’s request for leave and rejected the special leave petition by providing the aforementioned justification.
Written by Harshika Bhutda an intern under legal vidhiya.