The Karnataka High Court on 7th July 2022 ruled that family courts must accept affidavits from aggrieved parties (wife and children) clearly stating their place of residence away from the matrimonial home and not raise the issue of jurisdiction when hearing an application for maintenance from the husband under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (“Cr.P.C.), through the single bench of Justice E. S. Indiresh in the case of Sangeeta w/o Bapu Lamani & Ors. vs Bapu s/o Somappa Lamani (Rev. Pet. Family Court No. 100043 of 2020).
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The present RPFC was filed under Section 115 of CPC read with Section 19(4) of the Family Court Act, 1984, against the judgement and order dated 5.11.2020 in which Crl. Misc. No. 145/2022 filed under Section 125 of Cr.P.C. was partly allowed and partly declined to cite the issue of territorial jurisdiction by the Family Court, Dharwad.
According to the facts of the present case, the Family Court raised an objection to the petition’s maintainability on the grounds that the address shown in the cause title and the documents produced by the petitioners are not the same and thus, the learned Judge of the Family Court accepted the office objection and returned the petition to the petitioner for presentation before the jurisdictional Court.
Though the petitioners did not present relevant documents to show that they are residing in Dharwad, the petitioner had filed an affidavit stating that she is residing at her Aunt’s House in Dharwad. It has also been found by the Family Court that the aforementioned Aunt resides in Dharwad, and hence the Family Court should have provided the petitioners with an opportunity to have their say in the case to prove that they are in their aunt’s house.
The court relied on the Supreme Court judgment of Jagir Kaur & Anr. v. Jaswant Singh [AIR 1963 SC 1521], in which it was observed that section125 of the Cr.P.C. is a social measure that provides immediate help to the poor wife and children, prima facie, upon acceptance of the duly sworn affidavit. the Family Court should have accepted the petitioners’ address, which was accompanied by an affidavit and issued notice on the respondent.
Furthermore, the court stated that although the jurisdictional aspect is essential with regard to the Court’s competency, such a requirement may be an exception to the provisions under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. for the reasons stated above. As a result, the court held that if the applicant/petitioner submitted a petition along with an affidavit stating their residential address in the duly sworn affidavit, that was enough to continue the proceedings and grant immediate relief to the destitute wife/children.
Accordingly, the court thus allowed the petition and remanded the case to the family court for further consideration after giving the petitioners an opportunity to prove their residential status.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NIDHI KUMAR
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