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Equivalent Citation: AIR1985SC765, 1985CriLJ528, 1985(2)Crimes88(SC), 1985(1)SCALE184, (1985)1SCC637

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA Criminal Appeal No. 471 of 1984 (Arising out of SLP (Crl). No. 2271 of 1984) De i!e! "n# 28.$1.198% Appellants# Sumitra Devi Vs. &espon!ent# Bhikan Ch u!har" H n#$%e &u!'es( P.N. '(ag)ati an! &anganat( *isra+ ,,. Su$)e*t( Crimina% A*ts+Ru%es+Or!ers( Criminal Pro e!ure Co!e - Se tion 12% Case N te( Crimina% , maintenan*e , Se*ti n -./ 0 Crimina% Pr *e!ure C !e1 -234 , a55%i*ati n 0 r maintenan*e 0 r a55e%%ant an! her min r 0ema%e *hi%! un!er Se*ti n -./ , res5 n!ent !enie! that *hi%! 6as his , a55e%%ant 5r ve! t $e %e'a% 6i0e 0 res5 n!ent an! *hi%! $ rn t them ut 0 6e!% *k , he%!1 a55e%%ant entit%e! 0 r maintenan*e 0 r her an! her min r !au'hter. &UD7MENT Ran'anath Misra1 &. 1. Appellant file! an appli ation for maintenan e un!er Se tion 125 of t(e CrPC for (erself as also a minor !aug(ter alleging t(at s(e (a! .een marrie! to t(e respon!ent some time in 1971 an! out of t(e )e!lo / t(e (il! (a! .een .orn. S(e furt(er allege! t(at t(e fa t t(at t(e respon!ent )as alrea!0 marrie! an! (is spouse )as li1ing )as not /no)n. After t(e !is o1er0 of t(e pre1ious marriage of t(e respon!ent t(e relations(ip .et)een t(e parties gra!uall0 .e ame straine! an! ultimatel0 t(e respon!ent starte! totall0 negle ting t(e appellant an! refuse! to maintain (er. S(e (a!+ t(erefore+ no option left .ut to as/ for maintenan e for (erself as also for t(e (il!+ 2. 2(e respon!ent !i! not !ispute t(e marriage as a fa t t(oug( (e plea!e! t(at su ( marriage )as 1oi!. A or!ing to (im t(e appellant3s fat(er )as t(e lo al 4ram &a/(i an! ta/ing a!1antage of (is position an! presen e in t(e 1illage (e (a! pre1aile! upon t(e respon!ent to enter into marriage )it( t(e appellant. 2(e respon!ent later ame to !is o1er t(at t(e appellant )as alrea!0 arr0ing .eing pregnant for a.out t(ree mont(s an! on !is o1er0 of t(is frau!ulent on!u t of t(e appellant3s fat(er an! t(e suppression of t(is fa t+ (e !i! not )ant to li1e )it( t(e appellant. 5e plea!e! t(at t(e (il! )as not (is an! (e !i! not /no) if an0 female (il! )as a tuall0 .orn to t(e appellant later. 6n support of t(e appli ation 8 )itnesses in lu!ing t(e appellant )ere e7amine! )(ile t(e respon!ent !i! not e7amine (imself .ut e7amine! a solitar0 )itness to support (is plea in !efen e. 2(e Su.-Di1isional ,u!i ial *agistrate )(o trie! t(e ase a epte! t(e fa t t(at t(e parties )ere spouses an! out of t(e )e!lo / t(e (il! as laime! .0 t(e appellant

(a! .een .orn. 5e a or!ingl0 fi7e! maintenan e separatel0 .ot( for t(e appellant as also for t(e (il!. 2(e respon!ent appeale! to t(e Sessions Court an! t(e 8irst A!!itional Sessions ,u!ge of 9ais(ali re1erse! t(e or!er of t(e Su.-Di1isional ,u!i ial *agistrate an! 1a ate! t(e a)ar! of maintenan e .0 (ol!ing t(at t(e appellant faile! to esta.lis( t(e fa tum of marriage. A re1ision appli ation .0 t(e appellant .efore t(e 5ig( Court !i! not su ee!. 2(at is (o) t(e appellant (a! approa (e! t(is Court for spe ial lea1e. :. ;e are impresse! .0 t(e fa t t(at t(e respon!ent (a! not seriousl0 !ispute! t(e fa t of marriage an! (a! ta/en t(e stan! t(at su ( marriage )as 1oi! .eing 1itiate! .0 frau! an! suppression of material fa ts as also for non-performan e of religious rites. 2(e A!!itional Sessions ,u!ge an! t(e 5ig( Court (a1e a!opte! a te (ni al approa ( )(ile onsi!ering t(e <uestion of marriage. 2(ere is no !ou.t t(at in or!er t(at t(ere ma0 .e a 1ali! marriage a or!ing to 5in!u La)+ ertain religious rites (a1e to .e performe!. 6n1o/ing t(e fire an! performing Saptapa!i aroun! t(e sa re! fire (a1e .een onsi!ere! .0 t(is Court to .e t)o of t(e .asi re<uirements for a tra!itional marriage. 6t is e<uall0 true t(at t(ere an .e a marriage a epta.le in la) a or!ing to ustoms )(i ( !o not insist on performan e of su ( rites as referre! to a.o1e an! marriages of t(is t0pe gi1e rite to legal relations(ip )(i ( la) a epts. 2(e A!!itional Sessions ,u!ge as also t(e learne! single ,u!ge of t(e 5ig( Court !i! not refer to t(e fa t t(at for a.out a !e a!e t(e parties (a! li1e! toget(er. Pu.li re or!s in lu!ing 1oters3 lists !es ri.e! t(em as (us.an! an! )ife an! ompetent )itnesses of t(e 1illage of t(e )ife as also t(e (us.an! (a! supporte! t(e fa tum of marriage. ;itnesses (a1e also spo/en a.out t(e reputation of t(e appellant .eing /no)n in t(e lo alit0 as t(e )ife of t(e respon!ent. 2(ese fa ts s(oul! not (a1e .een totall0 o1erloo/e! )(ile onsi!ering t(e ase of marriage. 6t is possi.le t(at on a ount of t(e la)0er3s mista/e t(e appellant3s )itnesses (a1e not referre! to t(e religious rites )(i ( mig(t (a1e .een performe! at t(e time of marriage. 6t is e<uall0 possi.le t(at t(e learne! *agistrate )(ile re or!ing t(e e1i!en e (as not spe ifi all0 re or!e! t(e !etails an! (as onl0 in!i ate! t(at )itnesses (a1e spo/en to t(e fa t of marriage. Sin e t(e form of marriage (as not .een foun! an! tra!itional marriage a or!ing to 5in!u La) re<uires performan e of ertain religious rites+ )e onsi!er it proper in t(e pe uliar fa ts of t(e ase to remit t(e matter to t(e learne! *agistrate for a fres( in<uir0 at )(i ( apart from t(e e1i!en e alrea!0 on re or! .ot( si!es s(oul! .e entitle! to lea! furt(er e1i!en e parti ularl0 in support of t(eir respe ti1e stan!s relating to t(e fa tum of marriage. 4. No) t(at t(e matter is going .a / to t(e original Court )e t(in/ it appropriate to .ring it to t(e noti e of t(e learne! *agistrate t(at un!er Se tion 125 of t(e CrPC e1en an illegitimate minor (il! is entitle! to maintenan e. =1en if t(e fa t of marriage is !is ar!e!+ t(e minor (il! .eing foun! to .e an illegitimate !aug(ter of t(e respon!ent )oul! .e entitle! to maintenan e. "ur sa0ing so ma0 not .e onstrue! as a on lusion against t(e fa tum of marriage or as a suggestion t(at t(e (il! is not legitimate. ;e (a1e no intention to sa0 eit(er )a0. %. 2(e matter (as re<uire! a reman! to t(e original Court un!er pe uliar ir umstan es an! if parties+ t(eir la)0ers an! t(e original Court (a! !e1ote! proper attention a reman! )oul! not (a1e .een ne essar0. 2(e role of t(e Court is not t(at of silent spe tator or of a passi1e agen 0. ;(en a !ispute is .roug(t .efore t(e Court+ parti ularl0 one of t(e t0pe )it( )(i ( )e are on erne!+ )(ere maintenan e of a negle te! )ife or a minor (il! is in issue+ t(e Court must ta/e genuine interest to fin! out t(e trut( of t(e matter. 6f t(e learne! *agistrate (a! as/e! proper <uestions to t(e )itnesses )(en t(e0 )ere .efore (im an! !eposing a.out t(e marriage+ t(e rele1ant e1i!en e )oul! (a1e ome one )a0 or t(e ot(er. ;e must point out t(at it )as t(e !ut0 of t(e la)0er appearing for t(e appellant also to (a1e pla0e! (is role properl0 at t(e rig(t time. A lot of time (as .een lost an! if t(e appellant is entitle! to maintenan e s(e (as .een !epri1e! of it for all t(ese 0ears. ;e a or!ingl0 !ire t t(e learne! *agistrate to !ispose of t(e pro ee!ings )it(in t(ree mont(s from t(e !ate t(e re or! is re ei1e! .0 (im. 6f ne essar0+ (e )ill post t(e

ase from !a0-to-!a0 in or!er to ompl0 )it( our !ire tion. 2(e 5ig( Court s(all ensure t(at t(e re or! is pla e! .efore t(e appropriate *agistrate )it(in one mont( from to!a0. 2(e appeal is t(us allo)e! an! t(e matter is reman!e!.