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DVC – Magistrate passed Maintenance – appeal filed and stay granted to pay arrears of maintenance – not complied – appeal was dismissed – High court stayed the matter – counsel of wife reported not press her claim – wife personally appeared reported that she never instructed her counsel to do so – High court disbelieved the same – Apex court held that We find it difficult to accept that in a highly contested matter like this the appellant would have instructed her counsel not to press her claim for maintenance. In our view, the High Court ought not to have accepted the statement of the counsel without verification. The impugned order is set aside. We find it difficult to accept that in a highly contested matter like this the appellant would have instructed her counsel not to press her claim for maintenance. In our view, the High Court ought not to have accepted the statement of the counsel without verification. The impugned order is set aside. We are of the opinion that the conduct of the respondent is a gross abuse of the judicial process. We do not see any reason why the respondent’s petition Crl. MC No. 1975 of 2013 should be kept pending. Whatever be the decision of the High Court, one of the parties will (we are sure) approach this Court again thereby delaying the conclusion of the litigation. The interests of justice would be better served if the respondent’s appeal before the Sessions Court is heard and disposed of on merits instead of going into the residuary questions of the authority of the appellate Court to grant interim orders or the legality of the decision of the Sessions Court to dismiss the appeal only on the ground of the non-compliance by the respondent with the conditions of the interim order. The Criminal Appeal No.23/2012 stands restored to the file of the Sessions Court.We also direct that the maintenance order passed by the magistrate be executed forthwith in accordance with law. The executing court should complete the process within 8 weeks and report compliance in the High Court. We make it clear that such hearing by the Sessions Court should only be after the execution of the order of maintenance passed by the Magistrate. In the event of the respondent’s success in the appeal, either in full or part, the Sessions Court can make appropriate orders regarding the payments due to be made by the respondent in the execution proceedings. The appeal is disposed off accordingly.=CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.2070 OF 2014 (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No.6220 OF 2014) Shalu Ojha … Appellant Versus Prashant Ojha …Respondent = 2014- Sept. Month – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=41932

     DVC – Magistrate passed Maintenance – appeal filed and stay granted to pay arrears of maintenance – not complied – appeal was dismissed – High court stayed the matter – counsel of wife reported not press her claim – wife personally appeared reported that she never instructed her counsel to do so – High court disbelieved the same  – Apex court held that We find it difficult to accept that in a highly contested matter  like this the appellant would have instructed her counsel not to press her  claim for maintenance.   In our view, the High Court ought not  to  have  accepted the statement of the counsel without verification.  The  impugned  order  is set aside.

We find it difficult to accept that in a highly contested matter  like this the appellant would have instructed her counsel not to press her  claim for maintenance.   In our view, the High Court ought not  to  have  accepted the statement of the counsel without verification.  The  impugned  order  is

set aside. We are of the opinion that the conduct of the respondent  is  a  gross abuse  of  the  judicial  process.   We  do  not  see  any  reason  why  the respondent’s petition Crl. MC No. 1975  of  2013  should  be  kept  pending. Whatever be the decision of the High Court, one of the parties will (we  are sure) approach this Court again  thereby  delaying  the  conclusion  of  the litigation.  The  interests  of  justice  would  be  better  served  if  the respondent’s appeal before the Sessions Court is heard and  disposed  of  on merits instead of going into the residuary questions  of  the  authority  of the appellate Court to grant interim orders or the legality of the  decision of the Sessions Court to dismiss the appeal only on the ground of  the  non-compliance by the respondent with the conditions of the interim  order.  The Criminal Appeal No.23/2012 stands restored  to  the  file  of  the  Sessions Court.We also direct that the maintenance order passed by the magistrate  be executed forthwith in accordance with  law.    The  executing  court  should complete the process within 8  weeks  and  report  compliance  in  the  High Court. We make it clear that such hearing by the Sessions Court should  only be  after  the  execution  of  the  order  of  maintenance  passed  by   the Magistrate. In the event of the respondent’s success  in  the  appeal,  either  in full or part, the Sessions Court can make appropriate orders  regarding  the payments due to be made by the respondent in the execution proceedings.  The appeal is disposed off accordingly.=

This is an unfortunate case where the provisions of the Protection  of

Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 are rendered simply a pious  hope  of

the Parliament and a teasing illusion for the appellant.

Whether the Sessions Court in exercise of its  jurisdiction  under  Section

29 of the Act has any power to pass interim orders staying the execution  of

the order appealed before it is a matter to be examined  in  an  appropriate

case.   We only note that there is no express grant of  power  conferred  on

the  Sessions  Court  while  such  power  is  expressly  conferred  on   the

Magistrate under Section 23.  Apart from that, the power  to  grant  interim

orders is not always inherent  in  every  Court.   Such  powers  are  either

expressly conferred or implied in  certain  circumstances.

2014- Sept. Month – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=41932

NON-REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.2070 OF 2014
(Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No.6220 OF 2014)
Shalu Ojha … Appellant

Versus

Prashant Ojha …Respondent
J U D G M E N T

Chelameswar, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. This is an unfortunate case where the provisions of the Protection of
Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 are rendered simply a pious hope of
the Parliament and a teasing illusion for the appellant.

3. The appellant is a young woman who got married to the respondent on
20.04.2007 in Delhi according to Hindu rites and customs, pursuant to
certain information placed by the respondent on the website known as
“Sycorian Matrimonial Services Ltd.”.

4. According to the appellant, she was thrown out of the matrimonial
home within four months of the marriage on 14.8.2007. Thereafter, the
respondent started pressurizing the appellant to agree for dissolution of
marriage by mutual consent. As the appellant did not agree for the same,
the respondent filed a petition for divorce being H.M.A. No.637 of 2007
under Section 13(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 on 17.10.2007 before
the Additional District Judge, Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi. The said petition
was dismissed by an order dated 03.10.2008. Within four months, the
respondent filed another petition on 08.04.2009 once again invoking Section
13(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 before the Additional District Judge,
Patiala House Courts, Delhi being H.M.A. No.215 of 2009 and the same on
being transferred is pending before the Family Court, Saket and renumbered
as H.M.A. No.266 of 2009.

5. On 04.06.2009, the appellant filed a complaint case No.120/4/09 under
Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
(hereinafter referred to as “the DV Act”).

6. The said complaint case came to be disposed of by the learned
Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi by his order dated 05.07.2012. By the
said order, the Magistrate granted an amount of Rs.2.5 lacs towards monthly
maintenance of the appellant which included rental charges for alternative
accommodation. The respondent was made liable to pay such monthly
maintenance from the date of filing of the petition, i.e. from 04.06.2009.
The monthly maintenance was made payable on or before 10th of each
succeeding month. The learned Magistrate further directed that the arrears
of the maintenance be cleared by 05.12.2012.

7. Aggrieved by the above order, the respondent carried the matter in
appeal under Section 29 of the DV Act in Criminal Appeal No.23 of 2012
before the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Rohini, New Delhi. On
10.01.2013, the learned Additional Sessions Judge while granting stay of
the execution of the order under appeal passed an order directing the
respondent to pay the entire arrears of the maintenance due to the
appellant till the presentation of the appeal within a period of two
months.

8. Since the respondent did not pay the arrears, the appellant moved an
application for execution of the order dated 10.01.2013.

9. By an order dated 07.05.2013, Criminal Appeal No.23 of 2013 preferred
by the respondent was dismissed by the learned Sessions Judge for non-
compliance of the interim directions dated 10.01.2013.

10. Aggrieved by the order dated 07.05.2013, the respondent filed Crl.
Misc. Case No.1975 of 2013 and Crl. Misc. Application No.78-34 of 2013 for
interim directions in the High Court of Delhi on 08.05.2013. The High Court
initially declined to pass an interim order in the said appeal. Aggrieved
by the same the respondent approached this Court in SLP (Crl.) No.6509-6510
of 2013 which was dismissed in limine on 13.08.2013 with a direction to the
parties to apply for mediation.

11. Pursuant to the said direction, the respondent filed Crl. Misc.
Application No.12547 of 2013 in Crl. Misc. Case No.1975 of 2013 for
direction to refer the matter to Mediation. The matter was referred
accordingly. Eventually the mediation failed. On receipt of such failure
report, the appeal was again listed before the High Court on 10.09.2013.
The High Court directed the respondent to pay an amount of Rs.10 lakhs in
two instalments and that the execution petition filed by the appellant for
the recovery of the arrears be kept in abeyance.

12. Thereafter, an application was filed by the appellant before the High
Court seeking direction to the respondent for the payment of monthly
maintenance (current period) in terms of order dated 05.7.2012 of the
learned Metropolitan Magistrate (supra). It appears that the matter
underwent number of adjournments but no orders have been passed by the High
Court.

13. In the said background, the appellant filed Special Leave Petition
(Crl.) No.2210 of 2014 in this Court. The said petition came to be
disposed of on 31.03.2014 by setting aside the interim stay granted by the
High Court on the execution petition filed by the appellant. This Court
categorically observed that – it is open to the petitioner to execute the
order of maintenance passed by the learned Metropolitan Magistrate and
requested the High Court to dispose of the appeal of the respondent
expeditiously.

14. Strangely, when the appellant’s application for the payment of
current maintenance in C.M. No.18869 of 2013 was listed on 27.5.2014 before
the High Court along with other connected matters in Appeal (Crl. Misc.
Case No.1975 of 2013) preferred by the respondent, the application of the
appellant was dismissed as “not pressed” on representation made by the
counsel appearing for the appellant. The appellant appeared in person
before us and made a statement that such instructions not to press the
application were never given to the counsel who appeared in the High Court
and hence the present appeal.

15. We have heard the appellant-in-person and learned counsel appearing
on behalf of the respondent.

16. The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent pleaded
inability to make the payment of the arrears and the current maintenance
due to the appellant in terms of the order passed by the learned
Metropolitan Magistrate on 05.07.2012 on the ground that the respondent’s
annual income as can be seen from his income-tax returns for the last two
years is only around Rs.2.50 lakhs per annum.

17. The appellant submitted that the income-tax returns of the respondent
do not reflect the true picture of the income of the respondent. The
appellant pointed out the profile of the respondent placed on the website
of “Sycorian Matrimonial Services Ltd.” wherein the respondent’s personal
income is shown as Rs.50 lakhs to Rs.1 crore per annum and monthly income
of Rs.5 lakhs. He was shown to be a Managing Director or Director of four
companies, the details of which are as under:
|Sr. No.|Organization |Designation |
|1 |M/s Utkarsh Art Press Pvt. Ltd.|Managing Director/Share |
| | |Holder |
|2 |M/s Empress Infonet Pvt. Ltd. |Director/Share Holder |
|3 |Hotel Urban Pind |Director |
|4 |M/s Brahmani Apparel Pvt. Ltd. |Director/Share Holder |
18. Apart from that, the appellant also placed reliance on a article
published in weekly magazine Business World (Issue dated 10.03.2014)
wherein some information regarding a posh restaurant known as Zerruco by
Zilli at The Ashok, New Delhi was published. The article named the
respondent along with one Kashif Farooq as the restaurateurs. According to
the article, the restaurant was set up at astounding cost of Rs.7 crore.
The relevant portion of the article reads as follows:
“If chef Back has been feeding American entertainment industry stars.
London-based Aldo Zilli is well-known for his celeb-patronised Italian
bites. He has just made his Asian foray with Zerruco by Zilli, set in the
partly al fresco-partly indoors space at The Ashoka New Delhi that used to
house Mashrabiya. The menu is simple, fresh and Med – salads, grills, the
occasional show-offy “ gelato ravioli” but this is one of those big
“lifestyle restaurants” that we seem to be losing more recently with the
spurt in made-to-look-like-mom-and-pop places.

Restaurateurs Kashif Farooq and Prashant Ojha known in the
clubbing/partying circuits have brought in Zilli as part of their ambitious
plans to grow and get taken seriously in the F&B realm. The restaurant
(that will turn into a lounge/club in the evenings) has been set up at
astounding Rs.7 crore cost. You can look to this one as an alternate to
the “upscale, casual”, Olive-like spaces.”
19. Before we proceed to take any decision in the matter, we deem it
appropriate to make a brief survey of the DV Act insofar as it is relevant
for the present purpose. The preamble of the Act states that this is “an
Act to provide for more effective protection of the rights of women
guaranteed under the Constitution who are victims of violence of any kind
occurring within the family and for matters connected or incidental
thereto.”

20. “Domestic violence” is defined under Section 3 as any act, omission
or commission or conduct of any adult male who is or has been in domestic
relationship.
“Section 3. Definition of domestic violence.—For the purposes of this Act,
any act, omission or commission or conduct of the respondent shall
constitute domestic violence in case it—

harms or injures or endangers the health, safety, life, limb or well-being
whether mental or physical, of the aggrieved person or tends to do so and
includes causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse
and economic abuse; or

harasses, harms, injures or endangers the aggrieved person with a view to
coerce her or any other person related to her to meet any unlawful demand
for any dowry or other property or valuable security; or

has the effect of threatening the aggrieved person or any person related to
her by any conduct mentioned in clause (a) or clause (b); or

otherwise injures or causes harm, whether physical or mental, to the
aggrieved person.”
21. The expression “domestic relationship” is defined under Section
2(f)[1]. The expressions “physical abuse”, “sexual abuse”, “verbal and
emotional abuse” and “economic abuse” are explained in Explanation-1 to
Section 3.

22. Section 12 of the Act recognizes the right of an “aggrieved
person”[2] (necessarily a woman by definition) to present application to
the Magistrate seeking one or more reliefs under the Act. The reliefs
provided under the Act are contained in Sections 17 to 22. Section 17
creates a right in favour of a woman/aggrieved person to reside in a
“shared household” defined under Section 2(s)[3].

23. Section 18 deals with various orders that can be passed by the
Magistrate dealing with the application of an aggrieved person under
Section 12. Section 19 provides for various kinds of residence orders
which a Magistrate dealing with an application under Section 12 can pass in
favour of a woman. Section 20 authorizes the Magistrate dealing with an
application under Section 12 to direct the respondent to pay monetary
relief to the aggrieved person. Section 20 reads as follows:
“Section 20. Monetary reliefs.—(1) While disposing of an application under
sub-section (1) of section 12, the Magistrate may direct the respondent to
pay monetary relief to meet the expenses incurred and losses suffered by
the aggrieved person and any child of the aggrieved person as a result of
the domestic violence and such relief may include, but is not limited to,—

…………………………………
………………………………….
…………………………………..

the maintenance for the aggrieved person as well as her children, if any,
including an order under or in addition to an order of maintenance under
section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) or any
other law for the time being in force.
(2). The monetary relief granted under this section shall be adequate,
fair and reasonable and consistent with the standard of living to which the
aggrieved person is accustomed.

(3). The Magistrate shall have the power to order an appropriate lump sum
payment or monthly payments of maintenance, as the nature and circumstances
of the case may require.

(4). The Magistrate shall send a copy of the order for monetary relief
made under sub-section (1) to the parties to the application and to the in-
charge of the police station within the local limits of whose jurisdiction
the respondent resides.

(5). The respondent shall pay the monetary relief granted to the aggrieved
person within the period specified in the order under sub-section (1).

(6). Upon the failure on the part of the respondent to make payment in
terms of the order under sub-section (1), the Magistrate may direct the
employer or a debtor of the respondent, to directly pay to the aggrieved
person or to deposit with the court a portion of the wages or salaries or
debt due to or accrued to the credit of the respondent, which amount may be
adjusted towards the monetary relief payable by the respondent.”

(emphasis supplied)
24. Section 21 deals with the jurisdiction of the Magistrate to pass
orders relating to custody of children of the aggrieved person. Section 22
deals with compensation orders which authorizes the Magistrate to pass an
order directing the respondent to pay compensation and damages for the
injuries including mental torture and emotional distress caused by the act
of domestic violence committed by the respondent. The Magistrate receiving
a complaint under Section 12 is authorized under the Act to pass anyone of
the orders under the various provisions discussed above appropriate to the
facts of the complaint.

25. Section 29 provides for an appeal to the Court of Session against any
order passed by the Magistrate under the Act either at the instance of the
aggrieved person or the respondent.

26. One important factor to be noticed in the context of the present case
is that while Section 23 expressly confers power on the Magistrate to grant
interim orders, there is no express provision conferring such power on the
Sessions Court in exercise of its appellate jurisdiction. Section 23 reads
as follows:
“Section 23. Power to grant interim and ex parte orders.—(1) In any
proceeding before him under this Act, the Magistrate may pass such interim
order as he deems just and proper.

(2) If the Magistrate is satisfied that an application prima facie
discloses that the respondent is committing, or has committed an act of
domestic violence or that there is a likelihood that the respondent may
commit an act of domestic violence, he may grant an ex parte order on the
basis of the affidavit in such form, as may be prescribed, of the aggrieved
person under section 18, section 19, section 20, section 21 or, as the case
may be, section 22 against the respondent.”
27. It can be seen from the DV Act that no further appeal or revision is
provided to the High Court or any other Court against the order of the
Sessions Court under Section 29.

28. It is in the background of the abovementioned Scheme of the DV Act
this case is required to be considered. The appellant made a complaint
under Section 12 of the DV Act. The Magistrate in exercise of his
jurisdiction granted maintenance to the appellant. The Magistrate’s legal
authority to pass such an order is traceable to Section 20(1)(d) of the DV
Act.

29. Questioning the correctness of the Magistrate’s order in granting the
maintenance of Rs.2.5 lakhs per month the respondent carried the matter in
appeal under Section 29 to the Sessions Court and sought stay of the
execution of the order of the Magistrate during the pendency of the appeal.
Whether the Sessions Court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section
29 of the Act has any power to pass interim orders staying the execution of
the order appealed before it is a matter to be examined in an appropriate
case. We only note that there is no express grant of power conferred on
the Sessions Court while such power is expressly conferred on the
Magistrate under Section 23. Apart from that, the power to grant interim
orders is not always inherent in every Court. Such powers are either
expressly conferred or implied in certain circumstances. This Court in
Super Cassettes Industres Limited v. Music Broadcast Private Limited,
(2012) 5 SCC 488, examined this question in detail. At any rate, we do not
propose to decide whether the Sessions Court has the power to grant interim
order such as the one sought by the respondent herein during the pendency
of his appeal, for that issue has not been argued before us.

30. We presume (we emphasize that we only presume for the purpose of this
appeal) that the Sessions Court does have such power. If such a power
exists then it can certainly be exercised by the Sessions Court on such
terms and conditions which in the opinion of the Sessions Court are
justified in the facts and circumstances of a given case. In the
alternative, if the Sessions Court does not have the power to grant interim
orders during the pendency of the appeal, the Sessions Court ought not to
have stayed the execution of the maintenance order passed by the
Magistrate. Since the respondent did not comply with such conditional
order, the Sessions Court thought it fit to dismiss the appeal.
Challenging the correctness of the said dismissal, the respondent carried
the matter before the High Court invoking Section 482 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, 1973 and Article 227 of the Constitution.

31. The issue before the High Court in Crl. MC. No. 1975 of 2013 is
limited i.e. whether the sessions court could have dismissed the
respondent’s appeal only on the ground that respondent did not discharge
the obligation arising out of the conditional interim order passed by the
sessions court. Necessarily the High Court will have to go into the
question whether the sessions court has the power to grant interim stay of
the execution of the order under appeal before it.

32. In a matter arising under a legislation meant for protecting the
rights of the women, the High Court should have been slow in granting
interim orders, interfering with the orders by which maintenance is granted
to the appellant. No doubt, such interim orders are now vacated. In the
process the appellant is still awaiting the fruits of maintenance order
even after 2 years of the order.

33. We find it difficult to accept that in a highly contested matter like
this the appellant would have instructed her counsel not to press her claim
for maintenance. In our view, the High Court ought not to have accepted
the statement of the counsel without verification. The impugned order is
set aside.

34. We are of the opinion that the conduct of the respondent is a gross
abuse of the judicial process. We do not see any reason why the
respondent’s petition Crl. MC No. 1975 of 2013 should be kept pending.
Whatever be the decision of the High Court, one of the parties will (we are
sure) approach this Court again thereby delaying the conclusion of the
litigation. The interests of justice would be better served if the
respondent’s appeal before the Sessions Court is heard and disposed of on
merits instead of going into the residuary questions of the authority of
the appellate Court to grant interim orders or the legality of the decision
of the Sessions Court to dismiss the appeal only on the ground of the non-
compliance by the respondent with the conditions of the interim order. The
Criminal Appeal No.23/2012 stands restored to the file of the Sessions
Court.

35. We also direct that the maintenance order passed by the magistrate be
executed forthwith in accordance with law. The executing court should
complete the process within 8 weeks and report compliance in the High
Court. We make it clear that such hearing by the Sessions Court should only
be after the execution of the order of maintenance passed by the
Magistrate.

36. In the event of the respondent’s success in the appeal, either in
full or part, the Sessions Court can make appropriate orders regarding the
payments due to be made by the respondent in the execution proceedings.
The appeal is disposed off accordingly.

………………………….J.
(J. Chelameswar)

……………………..….J.
(A.K. Sikri)

New Delhi;
September 18, 2014

———————–
[1] Section 2. (f) “domestic relationship” means a relationship between
two persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a
shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage, or
through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family
members living together as a joint family.

[2] . Section 2.(a) “aggrieved person” means any woman who is, or has
been, in a domestic relationship with the respondent and who alleges to
have been subjected to any act of domestic violence by the respondent;

[3] . Section 2(s).— “shared household” means a household where the
person aggrieved lives or at any stage has lived in a domestic
relationship either singly or along with the respondent and includes such
a household whether owned or tenanted either jointly by the aggrieved
person and the respondent, or owned or tenanted by either of them in
respect of which either the aggrieved person or the respondent or both
jointly or singly have any right, title, interest or equity and includes
such a household which may belong to the joint family of which the
respondent is a member, irrespective of whether the respondent or the
aggrieved person has any right, title or interest in the shared household.
———————–
17

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