A Woman Who Married a Man Under the Misrepresentation that He Was Divorced Would be Treated as His ‘Wife’ Under Section 125 CrPC, and Is Entitled to Maintenance: Bombay High Court.
Recently, the Bombay High Court, in its Criminal Writ Petition of 2022, delivered a landmark judgment affirming a woman’s entitlement to maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.). The case, presided over by Justice Rajesh S. Patil in the Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction, dealt with the appeal of Mrs. Alka Bhausaheb Bhad against the order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Niphad.
Mrs. Alka Bhad applied in December 2012 under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. seeking maintenance from her husband, Mr. Bhausaheb Ramrao Bhad. The petitioner contended that she was the second wife of the respondent, marrying him in 1989, and alleged harassment and cessation of maintenance since 2011. The respondent, however, denied the marriage and the subsequent claims.
After a thorough examination of the evidence presented, Justice Rajesh S. Patil delivered the judgment on December 14, 2023, quashing the decision of the Sessions Court and upholding the maintenance granted by the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Yeola, on January 19, 2015.
In his judgment, Justice Patil observed, “Respondent cannot be allowed to deny the maintenance claim to the Petitioner, taking advantage of his wrong.” The Court highlighted the petitioner’s efforts to prove her marriage and the respondent’s attempt to discredit it, emphasizing the burden of proof on the husband.
The judgment extensively referred to legal precedents, including the Supreme Court decisions in Chanmuniya v. Virender Kumar Singh Kushwaha, Badshah v. Sou. Urmila Badshah Godse & Anr., and Vimala (K) v. Veeraswamy (K), establishing the principles governing maintenance claims under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C.