Sunday 26 September 2021

Whether criminal appeal or revision would lie against order of interim maintenance passed under domestic violence act?

 As rightly pointed out by Mr. Bahl, imposition of a limitation on the statutory remedy of revision/ appeal under Section 399 of the Cr.P.C. or Section 29 of the DV Act- as the case may be, also falls foul of Article 14 of the Constitution of India for the reasons noticed by the Division Bench in Gagan Makkar (supra). Even if the condition in question - of the nature directed by the learned Single Judge in Rajeev Preenja (supra), were to exist in the statutory framework, the same may fail the test of reasonableness under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. This is for the reason that, in a given case, the order granting interim maintenance passed by the Ld. Magistrate either under Section 125 Cr.P.C or under Section 29 of the DV Act, may be so harsh and so unreasonable, as to make it impossible for the opposite party/ husband to comply with the same. Experience shows that in a large number of cases, the arrears of interim maintenance- which may be granted from the date of moving of the application before the Ld. Magistrate, may accumulate to a very large amount running into lakhs of rupees. The arrears of interim maintenance may not necessarily be a meager amount in all cases. It would be most unjust and unreasonable to bar his statutory remedy of revision/ appeal as the case may be, merely because he may not be in a position to deposit the entire arrears of interim maintenance.{Para 29}

30. Thus, we answer the reference by holding that the general direction issued in Rajeev Preenja (supra) in paragraphs 15, 16 and 20 are not sustainable. The said directions could not have been issued by the learned Single Judge as they seek to curtail the statutory remedy of revision available under Section 399 read with Section 401 of the Cr.P.C, and of appeal under Section 29 of the DV Act, against orders granting interim maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C. and Section 23 of the DV Act respectively. The direction in question over steps into the legislative field, which was impermissible for the Court to do. We agree with the view taken by the learned Single Judge in Brijesh Kumar Gupta (supra), that there cannot be an absolute rider that the entire maintenance amount, as granted by the Trial Court, should be deposited prior to the entertainment of the statutory remedy, because it would leave the remedy of statutory revision/ appeal illusory. Accordingly, we hold that a revision under Section 399 read with Section 401 Cr.P.C. and an appeal under Section 29 of the DV Act, against the order granting maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C. and under Section 23 of the DV Act respectively, would be maintainable, and would be entertained and heard without any pre-condition of deposit of the arrears of maintenance as ordered by the Ld. MM. We further hold that the pendency of such a Revision or Appeal- as the case may be, shall not operate as a stay of the operation of the order granting interim maintenance. The reference is answered accordingly.

Delhi High Court

Sabina Sahdev & Ors vs Vidur Sahdev on 9 July, 2018
Citation: 2018 SCC OnLine Del 9747 : (2018) 251 DLT 245 (DB) : (2018) 3 HLR 413 : 2019 Cri LJ 218 : (2018) 171 DRJ 149 (DB) : (2018) 3 DMC 64
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