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Once the son turns 18, the father’s duty does not end: Delhi High Court

The court said that when the son completes his graduation and starts earning till then all his expenses must be suffered by the father alone and the mother can never be asked to bear such onus

By: Sachin Jain, Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi 

Delhi High Court gave rise to this statement on Tuesday, June 23 while granting interim maintenance to a divorced woman to cover costs for her adult son until he completes his studies or starts earning.

It was contended that the woman has to take care of the entire expenditure of the son who has now attained majority but is not earning because he is still studying.

“The Family Court, therefore, failed to appreciate the fact that since no contribution is being made by the respondent(man) herein towards the son, the salary earned by the woman would not be sufficient for the woman to maintain herself,” Justice Subramonium Prasad said. 

“It cannot turn a blind eye to the rising costs of living and it is unreasonable to let the mother single-handedly bear the entire burden for herself and her children,” Court stated while granting interim maintenance of ₹15,000 to a divorced woman from the date of her son attaining the age of majority till he completes his graduation or starts earning or whichever is earlier.

In November 1997, this couple got married and had one son who is now 18 years old and one daughter who is now 20 years. They got divorced in November 2011.

The high court during the proceeding remarked that the woman was working in Delhi Municipal Corporation as an upper-division Clerk with a salary of about ₹60,000 per month. The court also asserted that the salary certificate filed by the man mentioned gross monthly income, as of November 2020, was around ₹1.67 lakh.

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Husband’s Extra-marital Partner Can’t Be Made A Party To Domestic Violence Case By Wife: Karnataka High Court

Karnataka High Court ruled that the husband’s extramarital partner can’t be a respondent in an application moved by his wife under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act)

By: Sachin Jain, Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi

The petitioner was inferred of having an illicit relationship with the husband of the woman who had filed a complaint of domestic violence but there was no allegation of cruelty against her.

The judgment passed by Justice Shreeniwas Harish Kumar noted that as per Section 2(q) of the DV Act, “only those persons who have been in a domestic relationship can be made as respondents.”

“Section 2(q) of the Act makes it clear that only those persons who have been in the domestic relationship can be made as respondents. In this case, as argued by the petitioner’s counsel, the allegation against the petitioner is that the 1st respondent’s husband was suspected to be having an illegal relationship with the petitioner and he thought of bringing the petitioner to his house. Except for this allegation, there are no other allegations against the petitioner which indicate that she too joined with the husband of the 1st respondent in harassing her. Therefore the petitioner does not come within the scope of the respondent as envisaged under Section 2(q) of the Act. Making her respondent in the application filed under Section 12 of the Act is unwarranted,” the bench decreed.

Petitioner’s counsel, Advocate MH Prakash, contended that she has, with no cause, been made a party by the first respondent(wife) in her application before the Magistrate under Section 12 of the DV Act.

It was contended that she could not have been made a party to the case as she does not come within the definition of a respondent as mentioned under Section 2(q) of the DV Act.

But the wife(respondent) opposed the plea contending that she was harassed in the first place because of an illicit relationship between the petitioner and her husband. It was further contended that Domestic Violence has been committed on the petitioner’s incitement. Therefore, making her a party to the application filed under Section 12 of the DV Act is unavoidable.

The bench then began evaluating the scope of Section 2(q) of the DV Act to infer who can be made a respondent.

Section 2(q) of the Act reads:

“Section 2(q) ‘respondent’ means any adult male person who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved person and against whom the aggrieved person has sought any relief under this Act.

Provided that an aggrieved wife or female living in a relationship like marriage may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner.”

The bench concluded that the woman (petitioner) with whom the husband was allegedly having an illicit affair, won’t fall under the ambit of ‘respondent’ as defined under section 2(q) of the DV Act.

“Section 2(q) of the Act makes it clear that only those persons who have been in the domestic relationship can be made as respondents,” the Court stated.

The Court ordered to quash the proceedings already moved against the petitioner only before the trial court while permitting the petition moved by her. Accordingly, the petition is allowed.

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Justice Ashok Bhushan’s Farewell- “He Will Be Remembered For His Judgments”: CJI NV Ramana

Justice Bhushan is retiring on July 4 but Wednesday (June 30) was his last working day. As he will be leaving for Allahabad before July 4th i.e., his official retirement date to attend the funeral ceremonies of his late mother and thus, will not be attending court till then

By: Sachin Jain, Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi

Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, in his speech, said that many of the Chief Justices used to entrust complex cases to Justice Ashok Bhushan. Justice Bhushan will be remembered for his judgments, the CJI said.

Further, CJI said, “I recently came across an interview of Justice Bhushan’s where he rightly said- “The Judges are only known by their judgments. Judgments are the only true criteria for testing the mettle of a Judge. Judges delivering the greatest of decisions are justifiably remembered. Justice Ashok Bhushan will always be remembered for his judgments.”

Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association also said, “Justice Bhushan was an extremely humble person and extremely gentle to young members of the bar. He never let any lawyer feel he is unprepared even if he felt so or that the lawyer didn’t know the law. He always guided the junior lawyers. Even if you lost a case, you never felt dissatisfied in his court.”

Justice Ashok Bhushan was born in Jaunpur (district), Uttar Pradesh on July 5, 1956, to Late Chandrama Prasad Srivastava and Kalavathi Srivastava. He graduated in 1975 and obtained his Law Degree from Allahabad University in 1979 and enrolled as an advocate on April 6, 1979, in Uttar Pradesh.

On April 24, 2001, he was elevated as a permanent Judge of the Allahabad High Court, after holding more than 20 years of successful expertise in practice.

Later on, after completing his job as the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court, he was then elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on May 13, 2016.

A bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan, on his last working day, delivered a vital judgment in favor of persons who succumbed to COVID-19, concerning payment of Ex- Gratia Compensation to their families.

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The Live-in-relationship Nowadays Is Not A New Phenomenon But Society Has Not Evolved To The Extent Of Accepting Such Relationship Without Raising Eyebrows: Punjab And Haryana High Court [READ ORDER]

A single bench headed by Justice Rajesh Bharadwaj granted protection to a girl and boy, 18 and 19-year-old respectively, who are in a live-in-relationship

By: Pooja Reddy

A petition was filed by the boy and girl seeking protection to their life and liberty from the respondents. It was contended that both the petitioners met on social media, they fell in love and decided to get married. Both of them are majors but not of marriageable age. They have contended that they are in a live-in-relationship and would marry as and when they would attain marriageable age.

It was submitted that the girl’s parents wanted to get her married to another boy which was not acceptable by the girl. She tried to persuade her family members but they did not budge. Having no other alternative, the petitioners decided to reside with each other in live-in-relationship but their relationship is not acceptable to their family members and hence, they are being issued threats time and again.

“It is evident that both the petitioners are above the age of 18 years, however, the boy is not of marriageable age. The live-in-relationship nowadays is not a new phenomena but the society has not evolved to the extent of accepting such relationship without raising the eyebrows to such relationship”, the Court said.

In the Supreme Court judgement of Nandakumar and another Vs. The State of Kerala and others, it was held that ‘live-in relationship’ is recognised by the Legislature itself which has found its place under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,2005.

“Thus, time and again Hon’ble Apex Court as well as various other High Courts have accepted the live-in-relationship and have come to the rescue of the couple as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Though issue raised by the petitioners in the petition is qua their live in-relationship and their fundamental right to their life and liberty as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India but the Court is concerned only with their right under Article 21 of the Constitution”, Justice Rajesh Bharadwaj said.

Further, the Court directed Superintendent of Police, Mahendergarh to take into consideration the contentions raised by the petitioners in the representation and assess the threat perception if any to the petitioners. In case the allegations are found substantiated, then the requisite action be taken as in accordance with the law.

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Delhi High Court Surprised At Govt. Making False Claims Before Court With Impunity; Refers Plea For National Litigation Policy To PIL Bench [READ JUDGMENT]

While referring the plea to a PIL Bench, the Court observed that these false claims are being raised since there is no accountability of any government officer making such claims.

By: Nidhi N Anand, Ramaiah College of Law

While expressing its shock at the number of false claims/defenses raised by the government in various cases, the Delhi High Court remarked that the same is done with impunity owing to the lack of accountability of government officers who raise such frivolous claims.

The single bench of Justice JR Midha, while referring the plea seeking implementation of the National Litigation Policy to the PIL Bench,  observed that courts seldom take action against such officers raising false claims.

The order said that “All these cases shocked the conscience of this Court. It seems that the fake claims are raised with impunity due to the fact there’s no accountability of any Government officer for raising the fake claims and Courts seldom take any motion against the person concerned for raising fake claims/defenses.”  Additionally, the court urged the government to take action in opposition to officials accountable for making such fake claims in court.

Justice Midha opined “This Court is of the prima facie view that whenever a false claim is raised by the Government, it causes immense injustice to the litigant seeking justice; it also puts an unnecessary burden on the Court and the Government also suffers but the concerned officer who has raised the false claim does not suffer any action. If the facts given by the officers are found to be false/incorrect by the Court, the Government shall consider taking action and the copy of the judgment be kept in the ACR file of the officer. This will ensure that the officer is held accountable for the actions taken by him in the Court case.” 

It was observed that despite announcements being made by the government in 2010, no National Litigation Policy exists in place at present.

The court, relying on statistics available on Legal Information Management & Briefing System (LIMBS), a web-based portal set up through the Union Ministry of Law and Justice,  gathered that there were 4,79,236 instances wherein the government became a party, while 2,055 compliance cases and 975 contempt cases had been pending as on June 8, 2021. It was further seen that the Finance Ministry has the highest number of cases (1,17,808), while Railways has the second-highest pendency, with 99,030 cases.

The court then went on to peruse the cases wherein the government had made false claims to the High Court. It was seen that in one such case which related to the demise of 3 people who had been sleeping at the pavement outside a railway station, the Railway Claims Tribunal had granted compensation to the families of the victims. Surprisingly, as per the record produced before the Court, the Senior Divisional Operational Manager (Coaching) had asked the DGM (Law) to attempt to avoid the FIR being followed up through the High Court and to ensure that the function of the Government of NCT of Delhi must be eliminated. The revelation blew a shock to the Court’s conscience which proceeded to grant reimbursement of Rs.18 lakh to the petitioners.

In the present case, Senior Advocate AS Chandhiok, who was appointed as Amicus Curiae for the Railways case, made submissions on accountability in government litigation. He said that the governments’ indifference has time and again compelled the citizens to approach courts for seeking relief. Therefore, Governments/Public Sector Undertakings have been enjoying the distinction of being the largest litigants before the courts.

The Amicus Curiae further submitted that the 13th Finance Commission had opined the necessity of all state governments to frame state litigation policies that will aim at facilitating responsible litigation while encompassing steps to review existing cases and withdrawing cases recognized as frivolous and vexatious.

But the Central Govt.’s standing counsel, Kirtiman Singh, apprised the court of the non-existence of a litigation policy at present as he went on to state that the 2010 Policy had never been implemented.

Lastly, the Court placed reliance on the National Litigation Policy that was formulated in 2010 and reviewed in 2015. The same was highlighted by the Supreme Court in Union of India vs. Pirthwi Singh, wherein it was observed “The website of the Department of Justice shows that the National Litigation Policy, 2010 is being reviewed and formulation of the National Litigation Policy, 2015 is under consideration. When this will be finalized is anybody’s guess. There is also an Action Plan to Reduce Government Litigation which was formulated on 13th June 2017.

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