- Application filed by Second Wife for the purpose of claiming maintenance under Section 125 of criminal Procedure Code , will be treated as "Legally Wedded Wife" for the purpose of interpretation of the section .
- The principles of Hindu Personal Law have developed in an evolutionary way out of concern for all those subject to it so as to make fair provision against destitution.The manifest purpose is to achieve the social objectives for making bare minimum provision to sustain the members of relatively smaller social groups.
- The purpose is to achieve “social justice” which is the Constitutional vision, enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution of India. Preamble to the Constitution of India clearly signals that we have chosen the democratic path under rule of law to achieve the goal of securing for all its citizens, justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. It specifically highlights achieving their social justice. Therefore, it becomes the bounden duty of the Courts to advance the cause of the social justice. While giving interpretation to a particular provision, the Court is supposed to bridge the gap between the law and society.
- The Court has impressed that if man and woman have been living together for a long time even without a valid marriage, as in that case, term of valid marriage entitling such a woman to maintenance should be drawn and a woman in such a case should be entitled to maintain application under Section 125,Cr.P.C
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
J U D G M E N T
1. There is a delay of 63 days in filing the present Special Leave Petition and further delay of 11 days in refilling Special Leave Petition. For the reasons contained in the application for condonation of delay, the delay in filing and refilling of SLP is condoned.
petitioner, he had married Shobha on 17.2.1979 and from that marriage he had two children viz. one daughter aged 20 years and one son aged 17 years and Shobha had been residing with him ever since their marriage. Therefore, respondent No.1 was not and could not be his wife during the subsistence of his first marriage and she had filed a false petition claiming her relationship with him.
he was already married and therefore petition under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. at her instance was not maintainable. Since, we are primarily concerned with this issue, which is the bone of contention, we proceed on the basis that the marriage between the petitioner and respondent No.1 was solemnized; respondent No.1 co-habited with the petitioner after the said marriage; and respondent No.2 is begotten as out of the said co-habitation, whose biological father is the petitioner. However, it would be pertinent to record that respondent No.1 had produced overwhelming evidence, which was believed by the learned JMFC that the marriage between the parties took place on 10.2.2005 at Devgad Temple. This evidence included photographs of marriage. Another finding of fact was arrived at, namely, respondent No.1 was a divorcee and divorce had taken place in the year 1997 between her and her first husband, which fact was in the clear knowledge of the petitioner, who had admitted the same even in his cross-examination.
application under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C., is the issue. We would like to pin point that in so far as respondent No.2 is concerned, who is proved to be the daughter of the petitioner, in no case he can shun the liability and obligation to pay maintenance to her. The learned counsel ventured to dispute the legal obligation qua respondent No.1 only.
intent, which means only a legally wedded-wife. He argued that Section 5(1) (i) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 clearly prohibits 2nd marriage during the subsistence of the 1st marriage, and so respondent No.1 cannot claim any equity; that the explanation clause (b) to Section 125 Cr.P.C. mentions the term “divorce” as a category of claimant, thus showing that only a legally wedded-wife can claim maintenance. He, thus, submitted that since the petitioner had proved that he was already married to Shobha and the said marriage was subsisting on the date of marriage with respondent No.1, this
marriage was void and respondent No.1 was not legally wedded wife and therefore had no right to move application under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C.
marriage in proceedings under S.125, Cr.P.C. which are of summary nature strict proof of performance of essential rites is not required.
was held that order passed under Section 488 is a summary order which does not finally determine the rights and obligations of the parties; the decision of the criminal Court that there was a valid marriage between the parties will not operate as decisive in any civil proceeding between the parties.”
13. No doubt, in Chanmuniya (supra), the Division Bench of this Court took the view that the matter needs to be considered with respect to Section 125,Cr.P.C., by larger bench and in para 41, three questions are formulated for determination by a larger bench which are as follows:
maintenance under Section 125,Cr.P.C.?”
petitioner? Our answer is in the negative. We are of the view that at least for the purpose of Section 125 Cr.P.C., respondent No.1 would be treated as the wife of the petitioner, going by the spirit of the two judgments we have reproduced above. For this reason, we are of the opinion that the judgments of this Court in Adhav and Savitaben cases would apply only in those circumstances where a woman married a man with full knowledge of the first subsisting marriage. In such cases, she should know that second marriage with such a person is impermissible and there is an embargo under the Hindu
Marriage Act and therefore she has to suffer the consequences thereof. The said judgment would not apply to those cases where a man marriages second time by keeping that lady in dark about the first surviving marriage. That is the only way two sets of judgments can be reconciled and harmonized.
achieve the goal of securing for all its citizens, justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. It specifically highlights achieving their social justice. Therefore, it becomes the bounden duty of the Courts to advance the cause of the social justice. While giving interpretation to a particular provision, the Court is supposed to bridge the gap between the law and society.
Courts have to adopt different approaches in “social justice
adjudication”, which is also known as “social context adjudication”
as mere “adversarial approach” may not be very appropriate. There
are number of social justice legislations giving special protection
and benefits to vulnerable groups in the society. Prof. Madhava
Menon describes it eloquently:
called upon to dispense equal justice. Apart from the social- economic inequalities accentuating the disabilities of the poor in an unequal fight, the adversarial process itself operates to the disadvantage of the weaker party. In such a situation, the judge has to be not only sensitive to the inequalities of parties involved but also positively inclined to the weaker party if the imbalance were not to result in miscarriage of justice. This result is achieved by what we call social context judging or social justice adjudication.”
however, a change in law is the result of a change in social reality. Indeed, when social reality changes, the law must change too. Just as change in social reality is the law of life, responsiveness to change in social reality is the life of the law. It can be said that the history of law is the history of adapting the law to society’s changing needs. In both Constitutional and statutory interpretation, the Court is supposed to exercise direction in determining the proper relationship between the subjective and objective purpose of the law.
22. The Court as the interpreter of law is supposed to supply omissions, correct uncertainties, and harmonize results with justice through a method of free decision—“libre recherché sceintifique” i.e. “free Scientific research”. We are of the opinion that there is a non-rebuttable presumption that the Legislature while making a provision like Section 125 Cr.P.C., to fulfill its Constitutional duty in good faith, had always intended to give relief to the woman becoming “wife” under such circumstances.
are so entitled either because of the tenets supported by clear public policy or because of the need to subserve the social and individual morality measured for maintenance.
October 18, 2013
 (1988) 1 SCC 530
 (2005) 3 SCC 636
 (1999) 7 SCC 675
 (2011) 1 SCC 141
 Delivered a key note address on “Legal Education in Social Context”
 The Nature of Judicial Process
 From the Book “The Nature and Sources of the Law” by John Chipman
 AIR 1985 SC 945
 AIR 2010 SC 305
 AIR 2005 SC 422
 (1854) 3 Co.Rep.7a,7b
 (1978) 4 SCC 70