There is no bar to seek maintenance both under the DV Act and Section 125 of the Cr.PC or the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 : High Court of Delhi

Maintenance granted under the Domestic Violence Act would be in addition to an order of maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.PC) and any other law for the time being in force as upheld by the High Court of Delhi through the learned bench led by Justice Amit Bansal in the case of Mamta Bhardwaj v. Vinod Kumar Bhardwaj & Anr. (CM(M) 213/2021)

The petitioner wife had filed a suit under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 as an indigent person, claiming maintenance before this Court. The said suit was transferred to the Family Courts and the petitioner wife was awarded maintenance @ Rs.10,000/- per month w.e.f. 13th March, 1997. It is the case of the petitioner wife that the aforesaid amount of maintenance has not been paid to her by the respondent husband and she has filed execution proceedings in respect of the same before the Family Court. On 9th November, 2017, the civil suit was filed by respondent husband against the petitioner wife seeking damages of Rs.20,00,000/- along with interest @ 24% per annum and for pendente lite and future interest on account of malicious prosecution. The suit was premised on the discharge of the respondent husband in a criminal complaint lodged by the petitioner wife against the respondent husband under Sections 498A and 406 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The petitioner wife filed an application under Section 26 of the DV Act in the said civil suit seeking a direction to the respondent husband to pay a sum of Rs.10,000/- per month as interim maintenance and Rs.1,00,000/- towards litigation expenses. The said application was dismissed by the Trial Court, observing that the said application had been filed for execution of the order of the Family Court, in respect of which execution has already been filed on behalf of the petitioner wife and therefore, the civil court could not become an executing court for the amount of maintenance already awarded in favour of the petitioner wife.

After the perusal of facts and arguments by the learned counsels, the Hon’ble Court held, “In light of the observations made, the matter is remanded back to the Trial Court to decide the application filed by the petitioner wife under Section 26 of the DV Act on merits. Needless to state that the amount of compensation already awarded to the petitioner wife vide judgment dated 28th March, 2018 would be taken into account by the Trial Court while granting relief under Section 26 read with Section 20 of the DV Act in light of the provisions of the DV Act and the directions of the Supreme Court in Rajnesh case

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Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani

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