Women can claim relief post-alimony: SC

Women can claim relief post-alimony: SC

Women can claim relief post-alimony: SC

A woman who enters into a compromise on maintenance with her estranged husband as part of the proceedings under the Criminal Procedure Code cannot be barred from claiming further relief under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act.

Dealing with the claim of a woman from Gulbarga, a bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said the relief granted under 125 CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code) is tentative and cannot be considered as final.

“Section 125 CrPC is a piece of social legislation which provides for a summary and speedy relief by way of maintenance to a wife who is unable to maintain herself and her children. Section 125 is not intended to provide for a full and final determination of the status and personal rights of parties,” Justice Radhakrishnan, writing for the bench, said.

Neelamma married Nagendrappa Natikar on May 24, 1987. After his denial to look after her, she filed a petition in the family court in 1992 seeking maintenance.

However, she entered into a compromise with her husband in 1994 that she would receive Rs 8,000 as permanent alimony and would not make any future claim.
In 2003, Neelamma filed an application under Section 127 of the CrPC before the family court seeking alteration of the order passed in 1994.

The court dismissed her application on a plea by Natikar who argued that since a compromise had been reached between them, no change in order was possible.
Meanwhile, Neelamma made another plea before the family court, Gulbarga, under Section 18 (2) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act claiming a monthly allowance of Rs 2,000.

Natikar, again, raised the issue of compromise but this time the family court held in its order in 2009 that it is not against entertaining a suit under Section 18 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act.

The family court allowed the woman’s plea, which was challenged by her estranged husband before the Karnataka High Court. The HC dismissed it.

In his special leave petition filed in the apex court, Natikar claimed that he had paid a consolidated amount and reached a compromise on maintenance under Section 125 CrPC and the suit under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act was not maintainable.

The apex court, however, said it finds no error in the view taken by the family court and affirmed by the High Court.

“Proceeding under Section 125 CrPC is summary in nature and intended to provide a speedy remedy to the wife and any order passed under Section 125 CrPC by compromise or otherwise cannot foreclose the remedy available to a wife under Section 18(2) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act,” the court said.