In a First Allahabad High Court Judge Delivers a Judgment in English, Hindi and Sanskrit

The Indian judicial system, with its rich diversity of languages and cultures, faces the crucial task of making legal proceedings accessible to the common man. Delivering court judgments in vernacular and local languages is not just a matter of convenience; it is a fundamental necessity to ensure justice is truly served.

Recently, to promote Indian languages Justice Shiv Shanker Prasad of Allahabad High Court delivered a Judgment in three languages i.e. English, Hindi and Sanskrit, on maintainability of  Section 482 CrPC Petition against interim maintenance order u/s 125 CrPC.

This is one of unique Judgments, which has been passed in three different languages.

Through this Judgment the Allahabad High Court has ruled that a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is not maintainable against an order granting interim maintenance under Section 125 CrPC. The judgment was delivered by Justice Shiv Shanker Prasad in the case of Smt. Kanchan Rawat and Another vs State of U.P. and Another (Application U/S 482 No. – 10718 of 2024)[1].

Background of the Case:

The case revolves around a matrimonial dispute between Kanchan Rawat (applicant) and Brijlal Rawat (opposite party). They were married in 2009, but their relationship deteriorated due to alleged dowry demands. Kanchan Rawat left her marital home and filed a maintenance case under Section 125 CrPC before the Principal Judge, Family Court, Ghazipur in 2015[1].

The Family Court granted interim maintenance of Rs. 4,000 per month to Kanchan Rawat and her child in 2017. However, Brijlal Rawat stopped paying the maintenance in 2022, accumulating arrears of Rs. 80,000. When the Family Court directed him to pay Rs. 10,000 per month towards maintenance and arrears, he failed to comply[1].

Kanchan Rawat then approached the High Court under Section 482 CrPC, seeking directions for payment of arrears and enforcement of the interim maintenance order[1].

Legal Issues and Court’s Decision:

The primary issue before the court was whether a petition under Section 482 CrPC is maintainable for enforcing an interim maintenance order passed under Section 125 CrPC.

Justice Shiv Shanker Prasad held that such a petition is not maintainable. He observed: “Since the order passed by the Principal Judge, Family Court, granting interim maintenance to the applicants in a proceeding under Section 125 Cr.P.C. is a quasi judicial civil and criminal order, no application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. either for quashing the same or for enforcing the same, is maintainable”[1].

The court emphasized that the proper remedy available to the applicants is to approach the Family Court under Section 128 CrPC for enforcement of the maintenance order[1].

Important Observations:

The court made several significant observations:

1. On the nature of proceedings under Section 125 CrPC: “A proceeding under Section 125 Cr.P.C. is quasi civil and quasi criminal. It is civil in nature, since, it decides the civil rights of the parties to claim maintenance. When the order is not obeyed by the person against whom the same has been made, then the Court is empowered to impose a punishment of imprisonment for every breach of the order for a term which may extend to one month or until payment is sooner is made. To that extent, it is criminal in nature”[1].

2. On the options available for enforcing maintenance orders: “Where an order is passed directing to pay maintenance, the party in whose favour such an order has been passed has got two options. The first one is the party can choose to approach the Court under Section 125 (3) Cr.P.C. requesting the Court to punish the defaulter by imposing appropriate imprisonment; the second one is to approach the Court under Section 128 of Cr.P.C.”[1]

3. On the limitation period: “A comparison of Sections 125 (3) and 128 of Cr.P.C. would keep things beyond any doubt that insofar as the proceeding under Section 125 (3) is concerned, the statute has prescribed a period of limitation of one year, whereas in respect of a proceeding under Section 128 of Cr.P.C., there is no limitation provided at all”[1].

The court dismissed the application filed by Kanchan Rawat, directing her to approach the Family Court under Section 128 CrPC for enforcement of the interim maintenance order.

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