The Delhi High Court in the case of Col Ramnesh Pal Singh v/s Sugandhi Aggarwal fixed the Interim Maintenance for deserted wife as no conclusive proof of adultery existed at that point of time.
The marriage of the Petitioner was solemnized according to Sikh rites and rituals in accordance with the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Out of the wedlock, they have two Children. The Revisionist Petitioner has been posted across the territory of India as a result of his service in the Army. The Revisionist Petitioner and the Respondent were peacefully married and residing happily together until 2015 where the Petitioner alleges that he found that the Respondent was in an adulterous relationship with one of the petitioner’s senior in the army, who was married and close with the family as well. In July 2015, it is stated that the Petitioner found out that the Respondent was in an amorous relationship with the superior family friend of the Petitioner. The Petitioner admittedly checked the Respondent’s phone and discovered on her WhatsApp, certain chats which were lascivious in nature, with the Petitioners superior which was recorded by him to confront the Respondent on her actions.
The Revisionist Petitioner contended that there are glaring inconsistencies that were in the order as a result of suppression of facts made by the respondent. The respondent is disqualified from being given maintenance as she was in an adulterous relationship and was living in adultery with an army senior of the Petitioner. He submits that the Respondent and her paramour were having an affair behind his back and the paramour was known to the couple as a family friend from the time they had gotten married in 2002.
The Respondent contended that the Petitioner had deserted the Respondent without giving her a reason. She was in a loveless marriage and resorted to initiate divorce, custody and maintenance proceedings against him. She submitted that the Petitioner has been an uncaring spouse who neglected her and the children throughout the marriage and when she decided to live separately the Petitioner foisted the wild charge of adultery to avoid paying maintenance to her.
The single judge bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad noted that the object of Section 125 Cr.P.C is to prevent vagrancy and destitution of a deserted wife by providing her for the food, clothing and shelter by a speedy remedy. The object of Section 125 Cr.P.C is to bring down the agony and financial suffering of a woman who left her matrimonial home so that some arrangements could be made to enable her to sustain herself and her child.
The court said that the issue as to whether the respondent is living in adultery or not can be decided only after evidence is led by both the parties. If it is conclusively proved that the respondent was living in adultery and was not entitled to maintenance at all, the trial court can pass appropriate order for return of the maintenance amount if it deems it fit and keeping in mind the object of Section 125 Cr.P.C is to prevent vagrancy and destitution of a deserted wife.
The court allowed the revision petition in part and directed the petitioner to pay a sum of Rs. 14,615/- per month as interim maintenance to the respondent.