T K Surendran vs P Najima Bindu (2019) Read Complete Judgment Click Here
The Special Leave Petition was filed before the Supreme Court regarding question of law that the marriage which is annulled under Section 12 of Hindu Marriage Act (i.e., Voidable marriage), then whether a wife can claim maintenance under Section 125 of Cr.P.C?
The respondent (wife) filed an application before the Family Court claiming maintenance from her husband under Section 125 of Cr.P.C. Later, the trial court passed orders directing the revision petitioner herein to pay maintenance to his wife at the rate of ₹ 1000/- per month. Also on the same day, the trial court passed ordered annulling the marriage under Section 12 (1) (a) of the Hindu Marriage Act on the ground of impotence of the husband.
The (Petitioner) husband challenged the order of the trial court before the High Court that the ground directing him to pay maintenance is illegal and unenforceable. He relied on the case of Savitaben Somabhai Bhatiya v. State of Gujarat & Others [ 2005 (3) SCC 636] in which Supreme Court said that a wife whose marriage stands annulled will not come within the definition of ‘wife’ under Section 125 of Cr.P.C. the Hon’ble Supreme Court held in the factual situation that the wife whose marriage is ab initio null and void, cannot claim maintenance under Section 125 of Cr.P.C.
Kerala High Court Judgment:
The Kerala High Court referred to the case of Badshah v. Sou. Urmila Badshah Godse 2014(1) SCC 188 and said that in a case where the husband suppressed his previous marriage, and the wife happened to marry him without knowledge of previous marriage, the husband will have to pay maintenance to the wife despite the fact that the marriage is null and void on the ground of violation of clause (i) of Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act.
Also, in this case Supreme Court explained that Savitaben’s case would apply in those circumstances where a woman married a man with full knowledge of the first subsisting marriage. The purport of the subsequent decision and the position of law settled by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Badshah’s case is that nullity of marriage or annulment of marriage will not by itself disentitle the lady to claim maintenance under Section 125 of Cr.P.C. In a case where the marriage happened to be annulled or declared null and void due to some mischief or wrong committed by the husband, he will have to pay maintenance under Section 125 of Cr.P.C despite declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage.
Also, the Court said that the spirit and purport of the Supreme Court decision cited in Badshah’s case is that, what matters is not nullity or annulment, but the circumstance in which and the ground on which the marriage was annulled, or declared null and void. Further, in the present case the wife applied for annulment of marriage on the ground of impotence of the husband, which was suppressed by him.
Therefore the High Court relied on Badshah v Sou. Urmila Badshah Godse 2014(1) SCC 188 and said that in present circumstances or the facts of the case Savita Ben’s Case cannot be relied and therefore husband is liable to pay maintenance of Rs. 1000/- per month to the wife.
Supreme Court Judgment:
The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Kerala High Court in the present case and relied on the decision of the titled Badshah vs. Urmila Badshah Godse and Anr 2014(1) SCC 188. Therefore, the wife was entitled to maintenance under section 125.