Step-Mother Is Also Entitled For The Maintenance, If Huge Properties Held By Her Husband: Karnataka High Court
The Karnataka High Court on 2nd March, 2023 has said that a stepmother, to claim maintenance amount from legal heirs of her deceased husband, has to prove before the family court by tendering evidence and submission of documents that her husband was having a lot of properties and they are having income and thus she is entitled for maintenance. This was in the case of Khaleel Ul Rehman & Others V. Sharaffunnisa Muniri @ Ashraf Unnisa(WRIT PETITION NO.14494 OF 2022) and this was presided over by a single judge bench of Justice K Natarajan.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
This writ petition is filed under articles 226 and 227 of the constitution of India. The case of petitioner before the trial court is that she had married the father of the respondents before the trial court by name Moheddin Muniri on 26.08.1989 in Bhatkal on the decision of both the families after the death of the wife of Moheddin Muniri, even though he had the children who are the petitioners before this Court. She further contended that, at the time of marriage, the father of the present petitioners had assured her that he is having landed properties apart from movable properties and that he will look after the respondent and she was living in the joint family of her husband. Her husband died on 30.08.1994 and his successors were the present petitioners, who are the children of Moheddin Muniri. The respondent herein is a senior citizen, uneducated and unemployed house wife, she has no source of income, except Rs.4000/- earning from a rent house at Bhatkal there is no other source of income or help to meet her necessities. She is having a daughter who is also a divorcee having a granddaughter who is of 3 years old. The respondent herein is paying monthly rent of Rs.12000/- and she is having age related problems and health issues. Therefore, she has prayed through an application under section 125 of Cr.P.C for granting maintenance by filing the interlocutory application which came to be allowed by the impugned order. The family court had granted maintenance of Rs.25,000/- to the petitioner (respondent herein) at the trial court, which is under challenge in both the petitions.
The court said “The order of granting maintenance of Rs.25,000, by the Family Court as interim maintenance is not sustainable and the matter is required for evidence to be recorded, documents to be marked by the petitioner/step mother in order to show her husband is having lot of properties and they are having income.”
The court modified the court saying “The petitioner’s stepmother is entitled for Rs. 10,000 per month until disposal of the case of the trial court. The family court is directed to record the evidence of the parties and decide the issue and dispose of the matter in accordance with the law, by taking into the note of Senior Citizen Act and section 125 of Cr.P.C by keeping the judgment of the supreme court and the judgment of co-ordinate bench of this Court while disposing of the matter.Considering the circumstances of the case the order of granting maintenance of Rs.25,000 by the Family Court as interim maintenance is not sustainable and the matter is required for evidence to be recorded, documents to be marked by the petitioner/step mother in order to show her husband is having lot of properties and they are having income.”
It added “Though the respondent is receiving rent of Rs.4,000 but she is having divorced daughter and granddaughter, therefore, the petitioner requires to agitate the same before the Family Court and also she can claim maintenance in the Senior Citizen Act.”
It concluded by saying “Therefore the order under challenge is liable to be set aside and modified.”
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY PRATIKSHYA P. BEURA