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criminal Law in india

In the process of formation of opinion by the court that it is expedient in the interests of justice that an inquiry should be made into, the requirement should only be to have a prima facie satisfaction of the offence which appears to have been committed. It is open to the court to hold a preliminary inquiry though it is not mandatory. In case, the court is otherwise in a position to form such an opinion, that it appears to the court that an offence as referred to under Section 340 CrPC has been committed, the court may dispense with the preliminary inquiry.

Even after forming an opinion as to the offence which appears to have been committed also, it is not mandatory that a complaint should be filed as a matter of course. (See Pritish v. State of Maharashtra [Pritish v. State of Maharashtra, (2002) 1 SCC 253: 2002 SCC (Cri) 140].) In the same decision, the Court also took note of the following observations made by a Constitution Bench of this
Court in Iqbal Singh Marwah v. Meenakshi Marwah, (2005) 4 SCC 370 in relation to the scope of Section 340 of the CrPC:

In view of the language used in Section 340 CrPC the court is not bound to make a complaint regarding commission of an offence referred to in Section 195(1)(b), as the section is conditioned by the words “court is of opinion that it is expedient in the interests of justice”. This shows that such a course will be adopted only if the interest of justice requires and not in every case. Before filing of the complaint, the court may hold a preliminary enquiry and record a finding to the effect that it is expedient in the interests of justice that enquiry should be made into any of the offences referred to in Section 195(1)(b). This expediency will normally be judged by the court by weighing not the magnitude of injury suffered by the person affected by such forgery or forged document, but having regard to the effect or impact, such commission of offence has upon administration of justice. It is possible that such forged document or forgery may cause a very serious or substantial injury to a person in the sense that it may deprive him of a very valuable property or status or the like, but such document may be just a piece of evidence produced or given in evidence in court, where voluminous evidence may have been adduced and the effect of such piece of evidence on the broad concept of administration of justice may be minimal. In such circumstances, the court may not consider it expedient in the interest of justice to make a complaint.” (emphasis supplied) Notably, however, the decision in Amarsang Nathaji did not take note of the contrary observations made in Sharad Pawar (supra).

. In any event, given that the decision of the three- Judge Bench in Sharad Pawar (supra) did not assign any reason as to why it was departing from the opinion expressed by a Coordinate Bench in Pritish (supra) regarding the necessity of a preliminary inquiry under Section 340 of the CrPC, as also the observations made by a Constitution Bench of this Court in Iqbal Singh Marwah (supra), we find it necessary that the present matter be placed before a larger Bench for its consideration, particularly to answer the following questions:

(i) Whether Section 340 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 mandates a preliminary inquiry and an opportunity of hearing to the would-be accused before a complaint is made under Section 195 of the Code by a Court?

(ii) What is the scope and ambit of such preliminary inquiry?

  1. Accordingly, we direct the Registry to place the papers before the Hon’ble Chief Justice for appropriate orders.

State of Punjab vs Jasbir Singh

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.335 OF 2020

(Supreme Court of India )

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH

Criminal Misc. No.M-43750 of 2019 Date of Decision: 14.02.2020

Karan Chawla …Petitioner (s)

Versus

State of Punjab …Respondent(s)

CORAM:- HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE HARI PAL VERMA

Present:- Mr. S.P.S. Khaira, Advocate for the petitioner.

Ms. Ruchika Sabharwal, AAG, Punjab. ****

* HARI PAL VERMA, J. (Oral) Prayer in the present petition filed under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is for grant of anticipatory bail to the petitioner in case FIR No.0133 dated 18.08.2019 under Sections 376, 354, 511 IPC registered at Police Station Fatehgarh Sahib, District Fatehgarh Sahib.

The aforesaid FIR was registered on the statement of the prosecutrix with the allegations that on 17.08.2019, the prosecutrix suffered an accident and therefore, she was brought to Civil Hospital, Fatehgarh Sahib for treatment. In the Operation Room, when the doctor went away after treating her, a fat boy (the petitioner) Karan Chawla came inside  room, who firstly removed her sister-in-law from the Operation Room and then started molesting the prosecutrix. He bit her lips and removed her legging and started to touch her with finger.The prosecutrix started screaming and told the accused that she will tell her husband. The petitioner threatened her that in case she will tell this incident to anybody, he will kill her. At the same time, her husband and sister-in-law came and the accused suddenly disappeared. Later on, the prosecutrix came to know the name of the accused Karan Chawla, who was doing job in Civil Hospital.

On 16.10.2019, when this case was listed before this Court, following order was passed:-

 “Learned counsel for the petitioner refers to the statement of the attending doctor who has commented upon the behaviour of the complainant and her husband, who was allegedly under the influence of liquor, have misbehaved with the para-medical staff.

Dr. Jiwanjot Kaur was the Medical Officer and was performing emergency duty on 17.08.2019 has made a statement that the petitioner who was a Ward Attendant was present in the hospital and was helping her. She further states that husband of the complainant has assaulted the Staff Nurse and the Ward Attendant with the active sport of his relatives.

Notice of motion for 14.02.2020.

Till the next date of hearing, arrest of the petitioner shall remain stayed.”

Learned State counsel, on instructions from SI Amanpreet Kaur Brar, submits that the matter has been looked into by the police and a Special Investigation Team was constituted and on the basis of evidence so  adduced, including recording of the statements of attending doctor, lady attendant, staff nurse, police officials on duty and the security guard, the SIT has come to a conclusion that no such incident of alleged molestation has taken place and accordingly, the police has prepared cancellation report in the matter.

In view of the fact that SIT constituted in the case has not found anything in the case and thereby, cancellation report has also been prepared, the present petition is rendered infructuous

. Accordingly, the present petition is dismissed as infructuous.

However, this Court cannot ignore the fact that number of times, such like false cases are registered. Had there been no fair investigation, the petitioner would have to face trial. The police authorities are at liberty to proceed against the prosecutrix for lodging a false case, in accordance with law.

( HARI PAL VERMA )  JUDGE

Whether speaking / reasoned? Yes / No

Whether reportable? Yes / No

“The High Court ought to have kept in view that `Bail is rule and jail is exception’. There is no gainsaying that bail should not be granted or rejected in a mechanical manner as it concerns the liberty of a person. In peculiar circumstances of this case where closure report was filed twice, the High Court ought not to have declined bail only because the trial court was yet to accept the said report. Further, the examination of witnesses would depend upon the fate of 2nd closure report. Considering the nature of allegations attributed to the appellant and the period he has already spent in custody, we are satisfied that he deserves to be released on bail forthwith.”


Jeetendra Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh & Anr.

[Criminal Appeal No.408 of 2020

arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.)No. 10145 of 2019]

  1. Leave granted.
  2. Rejection of third bail application by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Indore Bench has prompted the appellant to approach this Court. He has been in custody since 5th January, 2019 in connection with Crime No. 210/2012 registered at Police Station Chhatripura, Indore for offences punishable under Sections 420, 177, 181, 193, 200 and 120B of Indian Penal Code (for short, ‘IPC’).
  3. Briefly stated, the facts are as follows:
  4. Wife of the appellant lodged a case under Sections 498A, 323 and 506 of IPC against him, registered as Crime No. 96/2008, wherein the appellant was arrested. Later, he was released on bail upon furnishing bail bonds of Rs.7,000/along with documents of their residential property as a personal bond by his mother. Subsequently, the matrimonial dispute was amicably settled and as a result, the appellant was acquitted on 23rd April, 2010.
  5. On 20th May, 2012 , Dileep Borade (appellant’s cousin) and his son Vishal Borade lodged a complaint with Police alleging that documents of the residential property furnished as personal bond for appellant’s release on bail in the matrimonial case were forged. This led to registration of Crime No. 210/2012 for which the appellant is incarcerated for more than a year.
  6. From perusal of the record, we note that a closure report was filed by the Police on 24th May, 2013 in Crime No. 210/2012 but the learned Judicial Magistrate after five years ordered further investigation on 20th June, 2018. Consequently, appellant was arrested on 5th January, 2019 and denied bail by the Additional Sessions Judge. The High Court also vide order dated 22nd January, 2019 declined to release him on bail. Appellant filed a second bail application before the High Court, which was dismissed as withdrawn on 10th April, 2019 with liberty to apply again after examination of certain material witnesses. Meanwhile, the police reinvestigated the case and submitted a second report on 2nd September, 2019 stating that no offence has been committed by the appellant and he deserves to be discharged.

After filing of this closure report, appellant approached the High Court for a third time. But he was denied bail yet again vide the impugned order on grounds that the second closure report has not been accepted by the Trial Court and that appellant has failed to point out whether material witnesses have been examined or not. The appellant has thus been left with no other option but to approach this Court. While issuing notice, this Court on 14th November, 2019 directed that the appellant be released on interim bail.

  1. Having heard learned counsel for the parties as well as the counsel representing the complainant, we are satisfied that the appellant deserves to be enlarged on bail. The High Court ought to have kept in view that `Bail is rule and jail is exception’. There is no gainsaying that bail should not be granted or rejected in a mechanical manner as it concerns the liberty of a person. In peculiar circumstances of this case where closure report was filed twice, the High Court ought not to have declined bail only because the trial court was yet to accept the said report. Further, the examination of witnesses would depend upon the fate of 2nd closure report. Considering the nature of allegations attributed to the appellant and the period he has already spent in custody, we are satisfied that he deserves to be released on bail forthwith.
  2. The appeal is thus allowed and the impugned order of the High Court dated 16th September, 2019 is set aside. The interim bail order dated 14th November, 2019 is made absolute. The appellant shall stand released on regular bail subject to the bail bonds already furnished by him to the satisfaction of the trial court.

……………………….CJI (S.A. BOBDE)

………………………..J. (B.R. GAVAI)

………………………..J. (SURYA KANT)

. Section 45 of the Evidence Act which makes opinion of experts admissible lays down that when the Court has to form an opinion upon a point of foreign law, or of science, or art, or as to identity of handwriting or finger impressions, the opinions upon that point of persons specially skilled in such foreign law, science or art, or in questions as to identify of handwriting, or finger impressions are relevant facts. Therefore, in order to bring the evidence of a witness as that of an expert it has to be shown that he has made a special study of the subject or acquired a special experience therein or in other words that he is skilled and has adequate knowledge of the subject.

  1. An expert is not a witness of fact. His evidence is really of an advisory character. The duty of an expert witness is to furnish the Judge with the necessary scientific criteria for testing the accuracy of the conclusions so as to enable the judge to form his independent judgment by the application of this criteria to the facts proved by the evidence of the case. The scientific opinion evidence, if intelligible, convincing and tested becomes a factor and often an important factor for consideration along with the other evidence of the case. The credibility of such a witness depends on the reasons stated in support of his conclusions and the data and materials furnished which form the basis of his conclusions.” In light of the observations quoted above and the admission of PW-8 that he was not an expert in post-mortem examination, we are constrained to find that no reliance can be placed on his deposition.

Furthermore, since this is a case based on circumstantial evidence, the burden is on the prosecution to prove all the circumstances so as to complete the chain, and not to leave any scope for the accused to escape from the clutches of law. The law on this point is now well-settled by the decisions of this Court including in the case of Sharad Birdichand Sarda v. State of Maharashtra, (1984)4 SCC 116, wherein it was held that the following conditions need to fulfilled for an accused to be convicted based on circumstantial evidence:

“The following conditions must be fulfilled before a case against an accused can be said to be fully established:

(1) the circumstances from which the conclusion of guilt is to be drawn should be fully established. (2) The facts so established should be consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused, that is to say. they should not be explainable on any other hypothesis except that the accused is guilty, (3) the circumstances should be of a conclusive nature and tendency.

(4) they should exclude every possible hypothesis except the one to be proved, and (5) there must be a chain of evidence so complete as not to leave any reasonable ground for the conclusion consistent with the innocence of the accused and must show that in all human probability the act must have been done by the accused.

These five golden principles, if we may say so, constitute the panchsheel of the proof of a case based on circumstantial evidence.” In the instant case, the prosecution has not been able to establish a complete chain of circumstantial evidence. The prosecution has not proved the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, and the same must enure to the benefit of the accused.


Cases refereed :

ADUKKALPATTU Mani Vs State of Andhra Pradesh

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1818 OF 2014

The use of the term “assist” in the proviso to Section 24(8) is crucial, and implies that the victim’s counsel is only intended to have a secondary role qua the Public Prosecutor. This is supported by the fact that the original Amendment Bill to the CrPC had used the words “co­ordinate with the prosecution”. However, a change was later proposed and in the finally adopted

impact the safeguards put in place for the accused in criminal trials. These lapses may be aggravated by a lack of advocacy experience on the part of the victim’s counsel. In contrast, such dangers would not arise in the case of a Public Prosecutor, who is required to have considerable experience in the practice of law, and act as an independent officer of the Court. Thus, it is important to appreciate why the role of a victim’s counsel is made subject to the instructions of the Public Prosecutor, who occupies a prime position by virtue of the increased responsibilities shouldered by him with respect to the conduct of a criminal trial. 12.3 At the same time, the realities of criminal prosecutions, as they are conducted today, cannot be ignored. There is no denying that Public Prosecutors are often overworked. In certain places, there may be a single Public Prosecutor conducting trials in over 2­3 courts. Thus, the possibility of them missing out on certain aspects of the case cannot be ignored or discounted. A victim­centric approach that allows for greater participation of the victim in the conduct of the trial can go a long way in plugging such gaps. To this extent, we agree with the submission made by the learned Senior Counsel for the Appellant that the introduction of the proviso to Section 24(8) acts as a safety valve, version, the words “co­ordinate with” were substituted by “assist”. This change is reflective of an intention to only assign a supportive role to the victim’s counsel, which would also be in consonance with the limited role envisaged for pleaders instructed by private persons under Section 301(2). In our considered opinion, a mandate that allows the victim’s counsel to make oral arguments and cross­examine witnesses goes beyond a mere assistive role, and constitutes a parallel prosecution proceeding by itself. Given the primacy accorded to the Public Prosecutor in conducting a trial, as evident from Section 225 and Section 301(2), permitting such a free hand would go against the scheme envisaged under the CrPC.

12.2 In some instances, such a wide array of functions may also have adverse consequences on the fairness of a trial. For instance, there may be a case where the Public Prosecutor may make a strategic call to examine some witnesses and leave out others. If the victim’s counsel insists upon examining any of the left out witnesses, it is possible that the evidence so brought forth may weaken the prosecution case. If given a free hand, in some instances, the trial may even end up becoming a vindictive battle between the victim’s counsel and the accused, which may further

inasmuch as the victim’s counsel can make up for any oversights or deficiencies in the prosecution case. Further, to ensure that the right of appeal accorded to a victim under the proviso to Section 372 of the Cr.P.C. is not rendered meaningless due to the errors of the Public Prosecutor at the trial stage itself, we find that some significant role should be given to the victim’s counsel while assisting the prosecution. However, while doing so, the balance inherent in the scheme of the CrPC should not be tampered with, and the prime role accorded to the Public Prosecutor should not be diluted.

12.4 In this regard, given that the modalities of each case are different, we find that the extent of assistance and the manner of giving it would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. Though we cannot detail and discuss all possible scenarios that may arise during a criminal prosecution, we find that a victim’s counsel should ordinarily not be given the right to make oral arguments or examine and cross­examine witnesses. As stated in Section 301(2), the private party’s pleader is subject to the directions of the Public Prosecutor. In our considered opinion, the same principle should apply to the victim’s counsel under the proviso to Section 24(8), as it adequately ensures that
the interests of the victim are represented. If the victim’s counsel feels that a certain aspect has gone unaddressed in the examination of the witnesses or the arguments advanced by the Public Prosecutor, he may route any questions or points through the Public Prosecutor himself. This would not only preserve the paramount position of the Public Prosecutor under the scheme of the CrPC, but also ensure that there is no inconsistency between the case advanced by the Public Prosecutor and the victim’s counsel.

12.5 However, even if there is a situation where the Public Prosecutor fails to highlight some issue of importance despite it having been suggested by the victim’s counsel, the victim’s counsel may still not be given the unbridled mantle of making oral arguments or examining witnesses. This is because in such cases, he still has a recourse by channelling his questions or arguments through the Judge first. For instance, if the victim’s counsel finds that the Public Prosecutor has not examined a witness properly and not incorporated his suggestions either, he may bring certain questions to the notice of the Court. If the Judge finds merit in them, he may take action accordingly by invoking his powers under Section 311 of the CrPC or Section
165 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. In this regard, we agree with the observations made by the Tripura High Court in Smt. Uma Saha v. State of Tripura (supra) that the victim’s counsel has a limited right of assisting the prosecution, which may extend to suggesting questions to the Court or the prosecution, but not putting them by himself.


Reffed Judgments : Citation:

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
  CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1727 OF 2019
[Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 7848 of 2019]

 

A husband/father is duty bound to maintain his wife and child. Unless there are very special reasons, the higher Court should not normally stay such an order. In the present case no reason has been mentioned justifying the grant of the stay order.

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IN THE    SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1399   OF 2019

(Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.7203/2019)

Pratima Devi & Anr ……………………….APPLANT

VERSUS

Anand Prakash      ……………….Respondent

O R D E R

  1. Leave granted.
  2. Though served, no one appears for the respondent. The appellants, the wife and minor son of the respondent had filed a petition for grant of maintenance under Section 125of the Criminal Procedure Code before the Principal Judge, Family Court, Karkardooma Courts, Delhi. The Principal Judge by order dated 03.10.2017 passed an order granting maintenance @ Rs.20,000/- to the appellants, (Rs. 10,000/- to the wife and Rs. 10,000/- to the minor son). This order was passed ex-parte. The respondent filed an application for setting aside the Signature Not Verified ex-parte order which application was rejected on Digitally signed by CHARANJEET KAUR Date: 2019.09.17 17:03:02 IST Reason: 05.09.2018. Aggrieved, the respondent filed criminal revision No. 986 of 2018 before the High Court. Along with revision petition an application for stay was filed. The orders passed in the said petitions read as follows :

“Trial Court record be requisitioned. List on 25th November, 2019. in the meantime, execution proceedings be kept in abeyance.”

  1. We are constrained to observe that this order shows total non-application of mind on the part of the High court. This was a case where maintenance had been granted to a wife and to a minor son. The High Court without recording any reason whatsoever, has stayed the grant of maintenance both to the wife and to the minor son. This should not be done. A husband/father is duty bound to maintain his wife and child. Unless there are very special reasons, the higher Court should not normally stay such an order. In the present case no reason has been mentioned justifying the grant of the stay order.
  2. We, therefore, set aside the impugned order and direct the payment of maintenance as awarded by the Family Court. We, however, make it clear that the High Court after hearing the parties may pass an appropriate reasoned order. We make it clear that this order will not come in the way of the High Court confirming, modifying or vacating the order of the Family Court.
  3. The appeal is, accordingly disposed of.

……………..J.

[ DEEPAK GUPTA ] ……………….J.

[ ANIRUDDHA BOSE ]

 

Further, the Division Bench of this Court in case of Vijaykumar Jagdishrai Chawla v. Reeta Vijaykumar Chawalareported in III (2011) DMC 687 while dealing with similar issue as to whether unmarried daughter is entitled to receive amount of of maintenance from her father or mother so long she is unable to maintain herself out of her own earnings. By referring to the provisions of Section 20 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 the Division Bench of this Court was pleased to hold that the father cannot be extricated from his liability to maintain his unmarried daughter who is staying with his wife and he would be bound not only to maintain his unmarried daughter but also responsible to maintain until her marriage while dealing with the objection of the respondent as to whether a wife can seek relief of maintenance on behalf of her major daughter, the Division Bench held that the unmarried daughter is entitled to receive maintenance from her father and the mother is competent to pursue relief of maintenance for the daughters even if they have become major if the daughters are staying with her and if she was taking responsibility of their maintenance and education. At this stage, it is also relevant to refer to the judgment of the Apex Court in the case of Jagdish Jugtawat v. Manju Lata reported in (2002) 5 SCC 422, where the Apex Court held as follows:— “Applying the principle to the facts and circumstances of the case in hand, it is manifest that the right of a minor girl for maintenance from parents after attaining majority till her marriage is recognized in Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act. Therefore, no exception can be taken to the judgment/order passed by the learned Single Judge for maintaining the order passed by the Family Court which is based on a combined reading of Section 125, Code of Criminal Procedure and Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act. For the reasons aforestated, we are of the view that on facts and in the circumstances of the case no interference with the impugned judgment order of the High Court is called for.”

  1. From the aforestated position, it is clear that the unmarried daughter though attained majority is entitled to claim maintenance from the father.
  2. It is very clear from the above judgments that even though Section 125 restricts the payment of maintenance to the children till they attain majority, when it comes to the daughter, Courts have taken a consistent stand that even though the daughter has attained majority, she will be entitled for maintenance till she remains unmarried by virtue of Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956. In order to avoid multiplicity of proceedings, the Courts have taken a consistent stand that the petition under Section 125 of Cr.PC can be entertained without pushing her to file an independent petition seeking for maintenance under Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.
  3. That apart, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has also held that mental injury is nothing but malice in law which can be gathered on the basis of violation of a legal right to claim maintenance vested under any law for the time being in force including Section 125 of Cr.PC. If the right to claim maintenance of the daughter is infringed, definitely it can be called as a injury which can very well be fit into the definition of mental injury.

 

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IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS

CORAMTHE HON’BLE MR.JUSTICE N.ANAND VENKATESH

Crl.O.P.No.15336 of 2019

R.KirubaKanmani                                   …Petitioner

-Vs

-L.Rajan                                        … Respondent

Prayer: Criminal Original petition filed under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, to set aside the order dated 02.04.2019 passed in MC SR.No.185 of 2019 on the file of Principal Judge, Family Court Chennai.               ORDER

This petition has been filed challenging the order of the Court below rejecting the petition filed by the petitioner under Section 125 of Cr.PC seeking for monthly maintenance from the respondent, who is the father of the petitioner.

  1. The petitioner who is aged about 18 years is the  unmarried daughter of the respondent and she has sought for maintenance from the respondent father on the ground that she is not in a position to take care of the expenses incurred by her towards her education.
  2. The Court below has rejected the petition mainly on the ground that the petitioner is a major and that in terms of Section 125 (1) (b) and (c) of Cr.PC, the petitioner is not entitled for any maintenance and that she does not suffer from any physical or metal disablement.
  3. Mr.Sharath Chandran, learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the Court below has completely misdirected itself in rejecting the petition and that the order of the Court below is opposed to settled principles of law. The learned counsel for the petitioner further submitted that a combined reading of Section 125 of Cr.PC and Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act makes it very clear that a father is under an obligation to maintain his unmarried daughter even if she has attained majority.

5. The learned counsel for the petitioner in order to substantiate his arguments cited the following judgments and the relevant portions of the judgments are also extracted hereunder :-[Noor Saba Khatoon Vs.Mohammed.Quasim] reported in 1997 6 SCC 323.

A short but interesting question involved in this appeal, by special leave, is whether the children of Muslim parents are entitled to grant of maintenance under Section 125 CrPC for the period till they attain majority or are able to maintain themselves whichever date is earlier or in the case of female children till they get married or is their right restricted to the grant of maintenance only for a period of two years prescribed under Section 3(1)(b) of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 notwithstanding Section 125 CrPC.

Thus, both under the personal law and the statutory law (Section 125 CrPC) the obligation of a Muslim father, having sufficient means, to maintain his minor children, unable to maintain themselves, till they attain majority and in case of females till they get married, is absolute, notwithstanding the fact that the minor children are living with the divorced wife.

Thus, our answer to the question posed in the earlier part of the opinion is that the children of Muslim parents are entitled to claim maintenance under Section 125 CrPC for the period till they attain majority or are able to maintain themselves, whichever is earlier and in case of females, till they get married, and this right is not restricted, affected or controlled by the divorcee wife’s right to claim maintenance for maintaining the infant child/children in her custody for a period of two years from the date of birth of the child concerned under Section 3(1)(b) of the 1986 Act. In other words Section 3(1)(b) of the 1986 Act does not in any way affect the rights of the minor children of divorced Muslim parents to claim maintenance from their father under Section 125 CrPC till they attain majority or are able to maintain themselves, or in the case of females, till they are married.

It, therefore, follows that the learned trial court was perfectly right in directing the payment of amount of maintenance to each of the three children as per the order dated 19-1-1993 and the learned 2nd Additional Sessions Judge also committed no error in dismissing the revision petition filed by the respondent. The High Court, on the other hand, fell in complete error http://www.judis.nic.in in holding that the right to claim maintenance of the children under Section 125 CrPC was taken away and superseded by Section 3(1)(b) of the 1986 Act and that maintenance was payable to the minor children of Muslim parents only for a period of two years from the date of the birth of the child concerned notwithstanding the provisions of Section 125 CrPC. The order of the High Court cannot, therefore, be sustained. It is accordingly set aside. The order of the trial court and the revisional court is restored. This appeal succeeds and is allowed but without any orders as to cost.

[Jagdish Jugtawat Vs.Manju Lata and others] reported in 2002 5 SCC 422

2……The learned Single Judge was persuaded to maintain the order of the Family Court with a view to avoid multiplicity of proceedings. The relevant portion of the judgment of the High Court is quoted here: “Thus, in view of the above, though 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 125CrPC 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.”

  1. In view of the finding recorded and the observations made by the learned Single Judge of the High Court, the only question that arises for consideration is whether the order calls for interference. A similar question came up for consideration by this Court in the case of Noor Saba Khatoon v. Mohd. Quasim [(1997) 6 SCC 233 : 1997 SCC (Cri) 924 : AIR 1997 SC 3280] relating to the claim of a Muslim divorced woman for maintenance from her husband for herself and her minor children. This Court while accepting the position that Section 125 CrPC does not fix liability of parents to maintain children beyond attainment of majority, read the said provision and Section 3(1)(b) of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act together and held that under the latter statutory provision liability of providing maintenance extends beyond attainment of majority of a dependent girl.
  2. Applying the principle to the facts and circumstances of the case in hand, it is manifest that the right of a minor girl for maintenance from parents after attaining majority till her marriage is recognized in Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act. Therefore, no exception can be taken to the judgment/order passed by the learned Single Judge for maintaining the order passed by the Family Court which is based on a combined reading of Section 125 CrPC and Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act. For the reasons aforestated we are of the view that on facts and in the circumstances of the case no interference with the impugned judgment/order of the High Court is called for.

iii. [Mansi Vohra Vs. Ramesh Vohra] reported in 2012 SCC online Del 5835

  1. Present petition has been filed under Section 482 Cr. P.C. challenging the order dated 17th March, 2012 passed by the Additional Sessions Judge (‘ASJ’) in Criminal Revision Petition No. 147 of 2011 wherein it was held that the petition filed by a major unmarried daughter for maintenance was not maintainable under Section 125 Cr.P.C. The ASJ in the impugned order dated 17th March, 2012 has held as under:-

“8. I have bestowed my careful consideration to the rival submissions made by learned counsel for revisionist as well as learned counsel for respondent in the light of the relevant provisions of law as well as the cases relied upon in support of their respective submissions and I have come to the conclusion that u/s 125 Cr.P.C. a major unmarried daughter cannot claim maintenance from her father unless her case is covered u/s 125(1)(c) Cr.P.C. Admittedly, Mansi Vohra is major daughter of the revisionist Ramesh Vohra and she is not physically or mentally abnormal and as such her petition u/s 125 Cr. P.C. for claiming maintenance is not legally maintainable. I also agree with the submissions made by learned counsel for revisionist that a major daughter unable to maintain herself can claim maintenance from her father only u/s 20 of Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956. Keeping in view this well settled legal proposition of law, I am of the view that the impugned order passed by learned MM is not in accordance with law and accordingly it is set aside by holding that the maintenance petition filed by Mansi Vohra, the present respondent, for claiming maintenance from her father Ramesh Vohra, the present revisionist u/s 125 Cr. P.C. is not legally maintainable. With these observations, this revision petition stands disposed of.” (emphasis supplied)

  1. Learned Counsel for the petitioner argued that under Section 125 of the Code the child cannot be granted maintenance after he/she has attained the age  of majority in the absence of any physical or mental infirmity, even if he or she is unable to maintain herself, in terms of Clause (c) of Sub-section (1) of Section 125 of the Code…………
  2. The law laid down by the Supreme Court while dealing with entitlement of the children to claim maintenance from the Muslim parents under Section 125 of the Code till they attain majority or in case of females till they get married, is fully applicable to the facts at hand. It may be noted here that under Sub-section (3) of Section 20 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, obligation of a Hindu father includes the obligation to maintain his unmarried daughter not only for the purposes of her day-to-day expenses, but also in respect of the reasonable expenses of her marriage. It arises from the very existence of relationship.
  3. The above view finds support from the observations made by the Calcutta High Court in Bankim Ch. Banerjee v. Chinmoyee Banerjee, 2003 (1) Crimes
  4. The ratio of the two decisions cited by the learned Counsel for the petitioner are not applicable to the facts at hand in view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Noor Saba Khatoon (supra).
  5. For the foregoing reasons, I find no illegality or impropriety in the impugned order to warrant interference.
  6. This Court is also of the opinion that even in Jagdish Jugtawat (supra), the Supreme Court has held that maintenance petition filed by the major daughter even if she does not fall in one of the exceptions mentioned in Section 125(1)(c) Cr. P.C., would be still maintainable on a combined reading of both Sections 125 Cr.P.C. and Section 20(3) of Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956.
  7. Moreover, to ask the petitioner to now file an independent petition before the Family Court under Section 20(3) of Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 would not only cause her inconvenience but would also defeat her right to claim maintenance for the period Section 125 Cr.PC proceeding was pending before the Metropolitan Magistrate. Such an interpretation would, in certain cases where both sections clearly overlap, create multiplicity of litigation.
  8. [T.Vimala and others Vs. S.Rama krishnan ] reported in 2016 SCC Online Mad 12324
  9. No doubt, Section 125 Cr.P.C. is not happily worded, since it has prescribed certain riders for a daughter or son who has attained majority to claim maintenance from their father. They must establish that they are under physical disability or they are suffering out of injury. There may be cases, where a daughter or a son, even after having attained majority, may not have sufficient financial capacity to maintain themselves and they continue to need the support of their father. This is  a reality of the situation. But, the Court cannot simply put the blame on the draftsman. Court must interpret the law. It should advance the cause of justice. That will be march of law.
  10. In Jagdish Jugtawat v. Manju Lata [(2002) 5 SCC 422] exactly, as in our case, it was argued before the Hon’ble Supreme Court that the daughter having attained majority and as it has not been established that she is suffering out of any physical disability or injury, she is not entitled to maintenance from her father. The Hon’ble Supreme Court noticing the phraseology employed inSection 125 Cr.P.C. encountered a difficult situation. However, in its zeal to advance the scheme of social justice incorporated in Section 125 Cr.P.C. and to protect a daughter, who has attained majority, but who does not suffer any physical disability, the Hon’ble Supreme Court called in aid Section 20 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act and held that although in view of the rider attached to a daughter, who attained majority, she may not be eligible for maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C., yet she is eligible for maintenance under Section 20 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act from her father and thus maintained the maintenance order passed in her favour under Section 125 Cr.P.C.
  11. Exactly, similar is the situation before us. The said Apex decision was not brought to the notice of the learned Principal Sessions Judge, Dindigul. Had it was produced, the thinking of the learned Principal Sessions Judge, Dindigul would have been different. So, in such view of the matter, scraping of maintenance granted to the second daughter on account of her attaining majority and her inability to establish physical disability is to be set aside.
  12. [Agnes Lily Irudaya Vs. Irudaya Kani Arasan] reported in 2018 SCC Online Bom 617 The present petition is filed by the petitioner- mother claiming maintenance for her major daughter under section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the legal issue involved is whether a major daughter is entitled for maintenance under section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (“the Cr.P.C.” for short) and another issue which arises out of the present proceedings, whether a mother is competent to file proceedings claiming maintenance on behalf of her major daughter.
  13. Under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. it is only the minor child who is entitled to claim maintenance if such child is not able to maintain itself. A child who has attained majority is held entitled for claiming maintenance, on account of physical or mental abnormality or injury he is unable to maintain himself. There is no any specific provision contained in Section 125 for grant of maintenance to a daughter who is major. However, perusal of the judgment of the Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Noor Saba Khatoon v. Mohd. Quasim (supra)  where the Hon’ble Apex Court had an opportunity to deal with the issue as to whether children of Muslim parents are entitled to grant maintenance under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. after they attain majority, the Hon’ble Apex Court by making a reference to Section 3(1)(b) of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 observed thus:—
  14. Thus, both under the personal law and the statutory law (Sec. 125. Cr.P.C.) the obligation of a Muslim father, having sufficient means, to maintain his minor children, unable to maintain themselves, till they attain majority and in case of females till they get married, is absolute, notwithstanding the fact that the minor children are living with the divorced wife.
  15. Thus, our answer to the question posed in the earlier part of the opinion is that the children of Muslim parents are entitled to claim maintenance under Section 125, Cr.P.C. for the period till they attain majority or are able to maintain themselves, whichever is earlier, and in case of females, till they get married, and this right is not restricted, affected or controlled by divorcee wife’s right to claim maintenance for maintaining the infant child/children in her custody for a period of two years from the date of birth of the child concerned under Section 3(1)(b) of the 1986 Act. In other words Section 3(1)(b) of the 1986 Act does not in any way affect the rights of the minor children of divorced Muslim parents to claim maintenance from their father under Section  125, Cr.P.C. till they attain majority or are able to maintain themselves, or in the case of females, till they are married.
  16. Further, the Division Bench of this Court in case of Vijaykumar Jagdishrai Chawla v. Reeta Vijaykumar Chawalareported in III (2011) DMC 687 while dealing with similar issue as to whether unmarried daughter is entitled to receive amount of of maintenance from her father or mother so long she is unable to maintain herself out of her own earnings. By referring to the provisions of Section 20 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 the Division Bench of this Court was pleased to hold that the father cannot be extricated from his liability to maintain his unmarried daughter who is staying with his wife and he would be bound not only to maintain his unmarried daughter but also responsible to maintain until her marriage while dealing with the objection of the respondent as to whether a wife can seek relief of maintenance on behalf of her major daughter, the Division Bench held that the unmarried daughter is entitled to receive maintenance from her father and the mother is competent to pursue relief of maintenance for the daughters even if they have become major if the daughters are staying with her and if she was taking responsibility of their maintenance and education. At this stage, it is also relevant to refer to the judgment of the Apex Court in the case of Jagdish Jugtawat v. Manju Lata reported in (2002) 5 SCC 422, where the Apex Court held as follows:— “Applying the principle to the facts and circumstances of the case in hand, it is manifest that the right of a minor girl for maintenance from parents after attaining majority till her marriage is recognized in Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act. Therefore, no exception can be taken to the judgment/order passed by the learned Single Judge for maintaining the order passed by the Family Court which is based on a combined reading of Section 125, Code of Criminal Procedure and Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act. For the reasons aforestated, we are of the view that on facts and in the circumstances of the case no interference with the impugned judgment order of the High Court is called for.”
  17. From the aforestated position, it is clear that the unmarried daughter though attained majority is entitled to claim maintenance from the father.
  18. It is very clear from the above judgments that even though Section 125 restricts the payment of maintenance to the children till they attain majority, when it comes to the daughter, Courts have taken a consistent stand that even though the daughter has attained majority, she will be entitled for maintenance till she remains unmarried by virtue of Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956. In order to avoid multiplicity of proceedings, the Courts have taken a consistent stand that the petition under Section 125 of Cr.PC can be entertained without pushing her to file an independent petition seeking for maintenance under Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.
  19. That apart, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has also held that mental injury is nothing but malice in law which can be gathered on the basis of violation of a legal right to claim maintenance vested under any law for the time being in force including Section 125 of Cr.PC. If the right to claim maintenance of the daughter is infringed, definitely it can be called as a injury which can very well be fit into the definition of mental injury.
  20. The Court below has not taken into consideration the march of law that has taken place by virtue of the above judgments and had committed an error by rejecting the petition at the threshold on the ground of maintainability and the same requires interference by this Court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482 of Cr.Pc.
  21. This Criminal Original Petition is allowed and the order passed by the Court below dated 02.04.2019 is hereby set aside. The  petitioner is directed to re-present the petition before the Court below and the Court below shall proceed to number the petition and thereafter deal with the same in accordance with law. The Registry is directed to handover the original maintenance petition filed before this Court to the learned counsel for the petitioner by retaining the copy of the same in order to enable the petitioner to re-present the petition before the Court below.