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Claiming Retiral Benefits: Deceased Teacher’s Nominee Challenges Legally Wedded Wife’s Right.

Case Title: Rajni Rani vs State of U.P. and others

Case No: WRIT – A No. – 11483 of 2023

Decided on: 11.01.2024

Coram: The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery

 

 

Facts of the Case

After reaching superannuation on June 30, 2012, one Sri Bhojraj Singh retired from his position as an assistant teacher at Maharaja Tej Singh Junior High School in Aurandh, Vikash Khand Sultanganj, District Mainpuri he passed away on February 10, 2021. The petitioner is claiming Sri Bhojraj Singh’s retirement benefits on the grounds that she was his nominee and lived with him as his wife for a considerable amount of time, as stated in the service record.

Advocates for the petitioner stated that the petitioner does not dispute that Respondent-10, Usha Devi, was Sri Bhojraj Singh’s lawfully wedded wife. She supposedly got married to someone else after divorcing him, hence she is not eligible for Sri Bhojraj Singh’s retirement payments. The learned counsel went on to say that Respondent-10 initiated a proceeding under Section 125 Cr.P.C., wherein an agreed amount was taken and a compromise was entered. Respondent-10 never claimed any maintenance allowance after that, and as a result, she has abandoned any rights she may have had.

On the other hand, the advocate for Respondent 10 contended that the respondent is in fact the legally wedded wife of Sri Bhojraj Singh and there was no divorce between them, therefore, only based on being a nominee or that the petitioner stayed with Sri Bhojraj Singh for a long time, would not sufficient to accrue all retiral benefits to her.

Issue

  • Whether the petitioner as the nominee of the government employee can claim the retiral benefits?
  • Whether the legally wedded wife even after having left the husband for years be entitled to his retiral benefits as a legal heir?

Legal Provision

Section 125 of the CrPC –

This code provides that any person who has sufficient means to maintain himself cannot deny the maintenance to the wife, children, and parents if they are not able to maintain themselves. After the party has invoked Section 125 of the Code, the court may order the respondent—the husband—to provide monthly maintenance to the wife in the event that she is unable to support herself. Nevertheless, the regulation contains an exemption. The husband must be able to support his wife after their divorce and the wife cannot be living in adultery or apart from her husband for an insufficient period of time in order for the husband to be entitled to maintenance payments. The wife will not be eligible for any kind of maintenance, even if they are living apart with mutual consent. In the event that the wife receives a favourable judgement, the court has make sure that the husband has sufficient means to provide maintenance to the wife. The court also needs to make sure that the wife after the separation does not have enough money to maintain herself.

Court Decision and Analysis

The court referred to the judgment passed by the apex court in Shipra Sengupta vs Mridul Sengupta and others (2009) 10 SCC 680  wherein it was held that a nominee of a Government employee is only a custodian and benefit after the employee’s death will confer to his/ her legal heirs.

The petitioner and Respondent-10 both lay claim to Bhojraj Singh’s benefits, but their legal grounds differ starkly. While the petitioner asserts some abandonment of rights based on past proceedings, it’s critical to remember, firstly, that Respondent-10 was Bhojraj Singh’s legally married wife, not the petitioner. Moreover, he never divorced her. Therefore, as per the legal precedent established in Shipra Sengupta, Respondent 10 holds a rightful claim as his heir. Viewing the nominated beneficiary merely as a temporary custodian, the law dictates benefits flow to legal heirs upon the employee’s death. Given these clear-cut facts and established legal principles, the challenged order stands on solid ground. In simpler terms, Respondent-10, as the legally wedded and undivorced wife, rightfully inherits the benefits, not the petitioner.

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Written by- Bhawana Bahety

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Ashwini Upadhyay Ruling Deciphered, Special Courts Can Try Sitting & Former Legislators, Not Just Current Offenses: Delhi High Court

 

Case Title: Manjinder Singh Sirsa vs State of NCT of Delhi and Anr.

Case No: CRL.M.C. 9128/2023 & CRL.M.A. 34100/2023

Decided on: 08.01.2024

CORAM: Hon’ble Ms. Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma

 

 Facts of the Case

In an effort to reform elections, the Supreme Court issued several directives in the case of Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India, W.P. (C) 699/2016, including establishing Special Courts in various states to expedite trials for criminal cases involving MPs/MLAs. One such court was set up in Delhi in February 2018. However, on November 9, 2023, the Court further directed these Special Courts to prioritize cases against current MPs/MLAs.

The petitioner, a former MLA in Delhi, argues that this new directive doesn’t apply to him since he ceased being an MLA in February 2020, before the updated directions were issued. He further claims the criminal complaint against him pertains to events after he left office, therefore exceeding the Special Court’s jurisdiction.

Despite appearing in court through counsel due to being out of the country, the petitioner’s attempt to quash the complaint and summoning order through CrPC Section 482 and subsequent revision were unsuccessful. He then sought to return or transfer the complaint based on jurisdictional grounds, but this request was also dismissed. This dismissal prompted the petitioner to file the present petition.

The petitioner maintains that he shouldn’t face trial in the Special Court meant for current MPs/MLAs because he is no longer one and the alleged offenses occurred after his term ended. The court’s decision on this petition will determine the venue and potential consequences for the petitioner’s upcoming trial.

Legal provision

Section 482 of CrPC –

Saving of inherent powers of High Court. Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.

Issues

  • Whether the Special courts, constituted for the purpose of trying cases relating to MLAs/MPs, will have jurisdiction to try the petitioner?
  • Whether the directions contained in the judgment of Hon’ble Apex Court apply to cases, registered after a person ceases to be an MP/MLA?

Court decision and analysis

Hon’ble Apex Court had sought details from the Government of India, as rightly observed by the learned ACMM, regarding cases which are lodged against the present or former legislators, between the period from 2014 and 2017. Thereafter, the Hon’ble Apex Court had passed certain directions for the effective disposal of criminal cases against sitting and former legislators, in 2018. The Hon’ble Apex Court had directed the High Courts to provide information about the pending cases against MPs/MLAs in a prescribed format, in 2020. Thereafter, after the matter was again taken up by the petitioner, it was clarified that the pendency of the case of Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, would not come in the expeditious disposal of the case relating to the elected representatives i.e. either sitting or former. Hon’ble Apex Court nowhere has observed that the Special Courts shall try only those offenses where the accused was a sitting MP/MLA, at the time of the commission of offence.

On the basis of the aforementioned orders, Court arrived to the conclusion that the Special Courts were constituted for dealing with cases against the legislators i.e. MPs or MLAs, whether sitting or former.

In the light of the directions issued by the Apex Court contained in the case of Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and applying it to the facts of the present case, the court was of the opinion that the Special Court constituted to deal with cases against MPs/MLAs, have no jurisdiction to try the present complaint case.

Accordingly, the present petition along with pending application stood dismissed.

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Written by- Bhawana Bahety

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Appellate Court Upholds Determination of Coparcener Rights in Ancestral Property Dispute: Bombay HC

Title: Sau. Ushabai Vs Smt. Mainabai and ORS.

Citation: SECOND APPEAL NO. 326/2015

Coram: Justice SMT. M.S. JAWALKAR

Date: 22/12/23

Facts

The case involves the plaintiff, who filed R.C.S. No.1794/1999 for the specific performance of an agreement of sale dated 24/09/1998. The decree in her favor was issued on 18/10/2001, leading to the execution of a sale deed on 17/10/2003. In R.D. No.06/2002, the plaintiff sought possession of the property, with J.Dr.-1 (son) and J.Dr.-2 (mother) as respondents. Following the death of J.Dr. No.1 in 22/07/2005, respondents No.2 to 5, his legal representatives, were brought into the case. They objected on 11/07/2008, claiming the agreement wasn’t for legal necessity due to J.Dr.-1’s alcohol addiction. The objection was rejected on 01/01/2011, leading to the trial court directing the issuance of a possession warrant. Respondents No.2 to 5 then filed First Appeal No.97/2011 in the District Court. The appellant argues that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to entertain and decide the appeal under Section 96 of the Civil Procedure Code, challenging the modified decree in R.C.S. No.1794/1999 based on the objection under Section 47 filed by respondents No.2 to 5 in the execution proceeding. The appeal court not only allowed the appeal but also issued an independent decree for partition and separate possession, which is contested in the present appeal. This second appeal pertains to a case where the appellant is dissatisfied with the judgment and decree issued by the District Judge-9 in Nagpur. The matter involves the rejection of objections under Section 47 of the Civil Procedure Code, and the dispute exists between the concerned parties. Additionally, the appellant contends that the Appellate Court shouldn’t have granted a decree for partition and separate possession in response to the execution proceeding, considering that the suit property had already been sold in compliance with the original decree favoring the appellant.

Laws Involved

Section 96 of Criminal Procedure Code

Appeal from original decree “It outlines the right of a party to appeal to the appellate court against a decree passed by the court of first instance. The section specifies that an appeal shall lie from every decree passed by any court exercising original jurisdiction to the court authorized to hear appeals from the decisions of such court.

Section 47 of Criminal Procedure Code

Deals with questions relating to the execution, discharge, or satisfaction of a decree. It specifies that all questions arising between the parties to the suit in which the decree was passed or their representatives, and relating to the execution, discharge, or satisfaction of the decree, shall be determined by the court executing the decree and not by a separate suit.

Section 115 of Criminal Procedure Code

Empowers the High Court to exercise its supervisory jurisdiction over subordinate courts. This provision is invoked when the High Court believes that the subordinate court has either exercised jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or has failed to exercise jurisdiction when it should have.

Section 20 of Hindu Succession Act,1956

Deals with the devolution of interest in coparcenary property or self-acquired property of a deceased Hindu.

Issues

  • Whether the Regular Civil Appeal is Maintainable challenging the rejection under Section 47 of the Code of Civil Procedure or it is only a revision Under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure?
  • Whether the lower Appellate Court was right in passing a decree for separate possession of the property particularly when the sale deed has already been executed pursuant to decree passed in suit for specific performance of contract?

Judgement

In this judgment, the court affirms the decision of the learned Appellate Court (District Judge-9, Nagpur) in R.C.A. No.97/2011. The appellant failed to establish legal necessity for selling the ancestral property, and the court notes that the objectors, being coparceners with a share in the property, have the right to retain possession in their share. The court finds no infirmity in the Appellate Court’s order, emphasizing that the executed decree is not binding on the share of the objectors. Consequently, the substantial question of law is answered in the affirmative, and the appeal is dismissed, confirming the judgment and decree dated 23/02/2015. The court orders the decree to be drawn up accordingly.

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Written by :- Sanjana Ravichandran

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Investigating authority needs to seek permission with the magistrate to investigate non cognizable offences under Section 155(2) of CrPC : Bombay HC

TITLE : Nitin Shivdas Satpute V The State of Maharashtra

CORAM : Hon’ble Justice Anil L Pansare

DATE :  22nd   December, 2023

CITATION : CrWP. No 660 of 2022

FACTS

The petitioner is a librarian in a college and the 2nd respondent is the principal of the college. The allegation of the petitioner is that the respondent is a habitual user of abusive and filthy language against the staff of the college. The petitioner along with other staff had complained regarding the same to the vice chancellor. Being annoyed at such complaint, the respondent had called the petitioners to his chambers and abused him verbally and threatened him to murder the petitioner and passing derogatory comments against his wife.  He then lodged a complaint against the respondent under Section 504 and 506 of IPC.

The petitioner before the magistrate pleaded that the offence in hand was put under the category of non-cognizable offence when the nature of the offence attracted cognizable offence under Section 200 of CrPC. The magistrate issued process against the respondent for offences under Section 294, 504 and 506 of IPC. The sessions judge set aside the order.

LAWS INVOLVED

Section 294 of IPC :

“294. Obscene acts and songs. – Whoever, to the annoyance of others –

 (a) does any obscene act in any public place, or

(b) sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place,

shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both

Section 155(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure :

No police officer shall investigate a non-cognizable case without the order of a Magistrate having power to try such case or commit the case for trial

ISSUES

  1. Whether the sessions judge erred in claiming principal’s office is not a public place?
  2. Whether there is sufficient jurisdiction to seek for magistrate’s permission to investigate the offence.

JUDGEMENT

The court held that the principal’s chamber is a public place since it is situated in the campus building where the students, teachers and staff and other persons relating to the college have access to the building. Secondly, the derogatory remarks pertaining to the petitioners wife is regarded to be obscene in nature. The statement shames the dignity and modesty of the petitioner’s wife.

The court held that the sessions judge has erred in holding the position that no other person was present in the chambers when the incident occurred.

As far as the jurisdictional issue is concerned, the petitioner has two options to ensure an investigation is done under either Section 155(2) of CrPC or Section 200 of CrPC as the offence is non-cognizable nature. The court further held that in certain circumstances it is necessary to seek permission of the magistrate in investiagating non-cognizable offences under Section 155(2) of the code.

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Written by- Sanjana Ravichandran

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Wife entitled to maintenance under Section 125 of Cr.PC if a man simply performs marital obligations : Bombay HC

TITLE : Alka Bhausaheb Bhad v Bhausaheb Ramrao Bhad and The state of Maharashtra

CITATION : WP No 15368 of 2023

CORAM : Hon’ble justice Rajesh S. Patil

DATE:  14th  December, 2023

INTRODUCTION :

A writ was filed under Article 226 of the Constitution to challenge the order and judgement given by the Additional Sessions Judge in the matter of paying maintenance under Section 125 Cr.PC.

FACTS :

The petitioner filed an application being Criminal Application under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for grant of maintenance before the J.M.F.C against the respondent.

The petitioner pleaded that she is the Second Wife of the respondent and her marriage took place in the year 1989. She was made to believe that the first wife was not cohabiting with him properly. The petitioner gave birth to a male child. The petitioner has given consent to let the first wife cohabit with him through sessions of mediation. The petitioner and the first wife after a while gave birth to a male child each. The husband shortly after that started harassing the wife and was acting violently towards her. The husband was paying maintenance till 2011 and after the instigation of the first wife, he stopped paying. The petitioner claimed 5000 per month as maintenance.

The JMFC in its ordered granted the petitioner Rs.2500 per month as maintenance after hearing  both the parties. The respondent husband appealed the decision and the Sessions judge set aside the order. The same was being challenged in the current matter.

COURT’S ANALYSIS

The court held that the husband is to pay maintenance irrespective of whether or not he was married to the second wife. The fact remains that he was in cohabitation with the second wife and had two children with her. It is a well established fact that Under Section 125 of Cr.PC a man who is fulfilling his marriage duties irrespective of the act of marriage is to pay maintenance. The court upheld the decision of JMFC and stated that the petitioner can apply for a fresh application to increase the maintenance amount as it has been 9 years since the order of JMFC.

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Written by- Sanjana Ravichandran

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