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Failure to demonstrate reasonable grounds for being absent for the trial court proceedings, petitioner deserves no leniency against initiation of ex-parte proceedings: The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh

Whether the marriage stands dissolved or not is the question of fact and that can be proved only by leading of evidence. Once the petitioner absented himself, so, mere pleadings or production of any talaqnama would not result into the denial of maintenance to the respondent. The aforesaid has been established by the The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh while adjudicating the case of Abdul Rashid v. Shameema Begum [CRMC No. 184/2011] which was decided upon by a single judge bench comprising Justice Rajnesh Oswal on 13th August 2021.

The facts of the case are as follows. the respondent had filed a petition for grant of maintenance under Section 488 Cr. P.C. and the petitioner herein had filed the response but later on he absented himself and as such ex-parte proceedings were initiated against the petitioner vide order dated 12.04.2010 by the learned trial Court. The learned trial Court after examining the respondent and two witnesses vide order 06.12.2010 granted a maintenance of Rs. 2,000/- per month to the respondent. Aggrieved of this, the petitioner instead of approaching the same court for setting aside the said order within the stipulated time preferred a revision petition before the learned Sessions Judge, Ramban, who dismissed the said revision petition vide order dated 19.07.2011 by holding that the revision is time-barred.

The court perused the facts and arguments presented. It was of the opinion that “The petitioner has remained absent before the trial Court after having participated in the proceedings. The mere absence of the petitioner before the trial Court demonstrates that he was deliberately avoiding the proceedings. Had there been any sufficient ground for remaining absent before the trial Court, the petitioner would have laid a motion within the stipulated period for setting aside ex-parte order. Moreso, even in the present petition, the lame excuse has been made that due to unavoidable circumstances (without explaining those un-avoidable circumstances) the petitioner could not appear before the trial Court, resulting into initiation of an ex-parte proceedings against him. As no ground has been demonstrated by the petitioner for remaining absent, no leniency can be shown to the petitioner. Further, the other contention raised by the petitioner that there was a divorce executed between the parties, it needs to be noted that whether the marriage stands dissolved or not is the question of fact and that can be proved only by leading of evidence. Once the petitioner absented himself, so, mere pleadings or production of any talaqnama would not result into the denial of maintenance to the respondent.” The petition was hence dismissed.

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