Strict Proof Of Marriage Is Not Necessary In Proceedings Under Section 125 CR.P.C.

The Supreme Court of India while dealing with a criminal appeal No. 2368-69 of 2009  Kamala and Others  Versus M R Mohan Kumar  has held that strict proof of marriage is not required in proceedings under section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The High Court in an appeal had set aside the order of the family Court and held that appellant No. I was unable to prove that she is the legally wedded wife of the respondent.

The marriage between appellant No. I and respondent was solemnized on 18/7/98  at Karrrighatta temple near Sri Rangapattana against the wishes of parents . Out of the wedlock two children were born. It was  alleged by the appellant No. I that during the subsistence of marriage, the respondent married one Archana on 1/4/2005 and thereafter, the respondent started neglecting  the appellants. The appellant No. I filed a application under section 125 Cr. P.C.  claiming maintenance for herself and the children.The respondent resisted the claim and denied the marriage.

The Apex Court referred to para 42 of the Judgment passed in Chanmuniya case where the  term ‘wife’ was defined.

” 42. We are of the opinion that a broad and expansive interpretation should be given to the term “wife” to include even those cases where a man and woman have been living together as husband and wife for a reasonably long period of time, and strict proof of marriage should not be a precondition for maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C, so as to fulfil the true spirit and essence of the beneficial provision of maintenance under section 125.We also believe that such an interpretation would be a just application of the principles enshrined in the Preamble to our Constitution, namely, social justice and upholding the dignity of the individual.”

The Apex Court  while setting aside the judgment of the High Court held  that there was a valid marriage, the High Court being the revisional court has not power reassessing the evidence and substitute its views on findings of fact. The High Court did not keep in view that in the proceedings under section `125 Cr. P.C. strict proof of marriage is not necessary. The findings recorded by the family court as to the existence of a valid marriage ought not to have been interfered with by the High Court.

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