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maintenance

Right to claim maintenance under the Domestic Violence Act and Section 125 CrPC are not mutually exclusive: Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court held that the right to seek maintenance under the Domestic Violence Act of 2005 and Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure are not mutually exclusive through Justice Asha Menon in the case of Jagmohan Kashyap v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi (CRL.M.C. 2269/2020, CRL.M.A. 16125/2020)

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The petitioner and respondent No. 2 were a married couple involved in a number of legal disputes. In accordance with the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, one case was submitted to the Metropolitan Magistrate (MM), and the other was submitted to the Family Court in accordance with section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

In an application made by the wife pursuant to section 5 of the Limitation Act,1963 against the ‘judgement allowing a three-year and ninety-nine-day delay in launching an appeal against the said order, the Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) orders dated 30 January 2020 were challenged by the husband in a High Court appeal. By rulings dated September 29, 2014, the wife’s claim for interim maintenance from the husband in the complaint case she filed under the DV Act was denied. The ASJ concluded that the appellant had sufficiently explained the delay notwithstanding the lengthy delay in submitting the appeal. Consequently, the request for a delay of condonation was approved, however at a cost of Rs. 8,000.

JUDGEMENT:

The Court recognised that despite the Family Court’s best efforts, there had been a great deal of confusion caused by the many available avenues for remedy.

It was observed that “Without a doubt, the D.V. Act is a piece of welfare law designed to protect the interests of women in domestic relationships and shared households from physical and emotional, and financial abuse.” Thus, The learned ASJ handled the condonation motion appropriately in light of this, rather than dismissing the appeal for lack of proper procedures. 

The Court continued by stating that while excessive delay may give the opposing party certain rights, there cannot be vesting of those rights that would result in the divesting of rights protected by a unique piece of legislation when it comes to the maintenance and welfare of family members covered by the D.V. Act.

Respondent 2 did not use stalling tactics, to delay filing an appeal in an effort to annoy the petitioner; rather, she persisted in pursuing her entitlement to maintenance before the Family Court in accordance with Section 125 CrPC. Respondent 2 did not use stalling tactics, in this case, to delay filing an appeal in an effort to annoy the petitioner; rather, she persisted in pursuing her entitlement to maintenance before the Family Court in accordance with Section 125 CrPC.

In addition to this, the Court said that in exercising its discretion to excuse the delay in family issues, the court would be guided by the facts, as presented as the reason for the delay, and the intent of the party requesting the excuse, as demonstrated by the circumstances.

A gross miscarriage of justice or perversity in the assailed ruling would cause the court to interfere with it using these powers, according to Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code. This Court will not operate as a Court of Appeal. Although no such scenario is apparent in the current case. As a result, the pending application was denied in light of the foregoing.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

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