Court:ORISSA HIGH COURT
Bench: JUSTICE B. Panigrahi & Ch. P.K. Misra
NALINI PRAVA BEHERA & ORS. Vs. AKSHAYA KUMAR BEHERA on 7 November 2002
Permanent Alimony and Maintenance : Quantum : While Deciding Amount Social Status, Economic Condition and Standard of Living of Parties Should be Kept in View : Taking provision of education of children and marriage of female child.
This appeal is directed against the order passed by the learned Judge, Family Court, Cuttack in Civil Proceeding No. 8 of 1995 and Criminal Proceeding No. 263 of 1995, arising out of applications under Section 13 (1) of the Hindu Marriage Act and Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure respectively. The respondent-husband Akshaya Kumar Behera had filed the application under Section 13(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act for a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty and desertion. On the other hand, the appellant Nalini Prava Behera along with her two children, one son and one daughter, had filed the application under Section 125, Cr. P.C. praying for maintenance. Both the cases were heard together and disposed of by a common order.
2. Undisputedly, the marriage between appellant No. 1 and the respondent was solemnised according to Hindu rites and customs in May, 1984. After consummation of the marriage, both the parties led a happy conjugal life. Two children, one male and other female, were born to them. However, in course of time, there was dissension, discontentment and discord between them. Ultimately, the husband filed an application for divorce alleging cruelty and desertion against the wife. During the pendency of the divorce proceeding, an application for issue of a search warrant was filed by the father of appellant No. 1 as a consequence whereof she along with her two children were recovered from the residence of the respondent-husband. Thereafter, they used to live with the parents of appellant No. 1. Subsequently the wife filed an application for maintenance on the ground of desertion.
3. In the evidence, the husband has asserted that it became unmanageable to stay with appellant No. 1 inasmuch as she very often threatened to put an end to her life and falsely accused him and the other members of his family of having caused her death. He was, therefore, under serious apprehension that at any time the appellant-wife might subject him to such awkward situation by putting him as well as other members of his family into humiliation and harassment. On the contrary, the appellant-wife asserted in the application for maintenance that the respondent-husband is leading an adulterous life. He also uses to engage himself in gambling.
4. Both the parties have been residing separately for the last more than eight years and hardly there is any chance of their reunion, Many attempts were made for reconciliation but the marital tie between them came to an irretrievable end. Keeping this in mind and also considering the evidence available on record, the learned Judge, Family Court, granted a decree for divorce and directed the respondent-husband to pay a sum of Rs. 50.000/- towards permanent alimony. He also directed the respondent to pay Rs. 750/- per month for the maintenance of the two children.
5. Since the chance of reunion of the parties is too remote, we hereby approve the decree of divorce passed by the learned Judge, Family Court. However, we are not one with him as regards the quantum of permanent alimony and maintenance. In this connection, we had directed the respondent to produce his salary certificate, which has been done. It is seen that at the moment, he is receiving a gross salary of Rs. 14,690/-, out of which deductions under different heads is about Rs. 9,000/- which includes instalments of loan incurred by him amounting to Rs. 7,200/-. While deciding the amount of permanent alimony, and monthly maintenance, the social status, economic condition and standard of living of the parties should be kept in view. In this case, apart from the wife, there are two minor children. Adequate provision for their education has to be made. There should also be provision for the marriage of the female child. Keeping all these in view, we raise the permanent alimony from Rs. 50,000/- to Rs. 4,50,000/- to be paid by the respondent-husband within a period of two years. Till final payment of the aforesaid amount, he shall go on paying Rs. 2,500/- per month for the maintenance of the appellants. Payment of monthly maintenance shall start from November, 2002, payable on or before the 10th of each succeeding month. Out of the aforesaid amount of Rs. 4,50,000/- a sum of Rs. 1,50,000/- shall be kept in fixed deposit in any nationalised bank in the name of the daughter making the mother as her guardian. The amount shall not be withdrawn by the mother till the daughter has attained majority or her marriage has been arranged. The interest accured on this amount shall be paid monthly, which shall be enjoyed by both the mother and the daughter. The balance Rs. 3,00,000/- shall be kept in fixed deposit in any nationalised bank in the joint names of the mother and the son. The interest accrued thereon shall be paid monthly which shall be enjoyed by both the mother and the son. In case of any necessity for premature withdrawal of any sum out of the said amount for meeting the educational expenses of the son, an application has to be submitted to this Court, and withdrawal may be made only after obtaining orders of this Court. In case of either the mother or the son predeceasing the other, the survivor shall get the benefits of the deposit. All payments shall be made by way of account payee bank draft in the name of appellant No. 1.
6. With the aforesaid observations and directions, the civil appeal is disposed of.