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Strict proof of essential marriage rites not required for maintenance application under Section 125 CrPC: Allahabad High Court

“There is prima facie material on record to suggest that the parties have married or are having relationship in the nature of marriage, the court can presume in favour of the woman claiming maintenance.” The Court held that under Section 125 of the CrPC, strict proof of performance of essential marriage rites is not required. The Allahabad High Court presided over by J. R.B. Singh Laid Down this ratio in the case of Irshad Ali Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr., [Criminal Revision No. 1555 of 2020].

The facts of the case are that a revision plea was filed by Irshad Ali against the order by the Principal Judge of the Bareilly Family Court. The Court initially ordered him to pay Rs. 3000 when the application was filed and later ordered him to pay Rs. 2000 once the order was passed. The Revision Applicant contended that the court does not have jurisdiction to pass this maintenance application order and it was wholly arbitrary and excessive. They further contended that the marriage between the parties is void as he was a minor and the signatures were fabricated. Whereas, the wife opposing this plea stated that there was no error in the order and their was clear evidence that proved the marriage legally valid.

The Court had to decide upon two question, i.e. is the marriage between the parties legally valid and if the wife is entitled to maintenance under Section 125 of CrPC.

The Court was of the opinion that Section 125, CrPC, there is no need to determine the ‘rights and obligations’ of the parties as the section is enacted with a view to providing a summary remedy, that too for providing instant maintenance to wife, children and parents. Elaborating on Section 125 the Court further stated that, “If there is prima facie material on record to suggest that the parties have married or are having relationship in the nature of marriage, the court can presume in favour of the woman claiming maintenance. Since the provision under Section 125 CrPC is a measure of social justice and has been enacted to protect women, children or parents and the materials on record suggest two views, then the view in favour of women should be adopted. An order passed in an application under Section 125 CrPC does not finally determine the rights and obligations of the parties and the said section is enacted with a view to provide a summary remedy for providing maintenance to a wife, children and parents.”

The Court further stated that, “Section 125 Cr.P.C. proceeds on de facto marriage and not marriage de jure. Thus, validity of the marriage will not be a ground for refusal of maintenance if other requirements of Section 125 Cr.P.C. are fulfilled… if from the evidence which is led, the Magistrate court is prima facie satisfied with regard to the performance of marriage in proceedings under Section 125 Cr.P.C. which are of summary nature, strict proof of performance of essential rites is not required.”

Lastly on the maintenance the court was of the opinion that, “It is apparent that court below has considered entire relevant facts and evidence and that findings of the court below are based on evidence. No illegality, perversity or error of jurisdiction could be shown in the impugned order. The quantum of maintenance awarded by the court below can also not be said excessive or arbitrary.”

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