Supreme court judgment on 125 crpc has has laid down the right of
maintenance of second wife in India under certain conditions.
CASE NUMBER: Criminal Miscellaneous Petition No.19530/2013
CASE TITLE: Badshah vs Sou. Urmila Badshah Godse & Anr.
DATE: October 18, 2013
CORAM: Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice A.K. Sikri
FACTS OF THE CASE
The respondents filed an application under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure (CrPC) and stated that respondent 1, Urmila was married to Popat
Fapale. In 1997, she got divorced from her first husband and she resided at her
parents’ house till 2015. On demand of the petitioner for her marriage through
mediators, she married him on 10.2.2005 at Devgad Temple situated at
Hivargaon-Pawasa. Her marriage was performed with the petitioner as per
Hindu Rites and customs. After her marriage, she resided and cohabited with
the petitioner. Initially, for 3 months, the petitioner cohabited and maintained
About three months later, a woman named Shobha came to Urmila’s house and
claimed herself to be Badshah’s first wife. On inquiring from her husband
about the lady, he replied that if she wanted to cohabit with him, she should
reside quietly, otherwise she was free to go back to her parent’s house. When
Shobha came to their house, Urmila was already pregnant with Badshah’s
Due to her pregnancy, she tolerated the ill-treatment by her husband and
stayed along with Shobha. However, the petitioner started to mentally and
physically torture her under the influence of liquor. Her husband also doubted
that her womb is begotten of somebody else and it should be aborted.
When the ill-treatment became intolerable, she came back to parents’ house.
Respondent 2, Shivanjali, was born on 28.11.2005 and the mother and child
filed a maintenance petition. In 2013, the Bombay High Court awarded
maintenance to respondent 1 at Rs.1000 per month and to the daughter at Rs.
500 per month. The appeal petition was filed by the husband against this
ARGUMENTS BY PETITIONER
The petitioner denied any relations with the woman and his child. He alleged
that he never entered into any matrimonial alliance with Urmila on 10.2.2005,
as claimed and said that she was in the habit of leveling false allegation and
was trying to blackmail him. He also denied cohabitation with her and claimed
that he was not the father of her child either.
According to the petitioner, he had married Shobha on 17.2.1979 and from that
marriage, he had two children viz. one daughter aged 20 years and one son
aged 17 years and Shobha had been residing with him ever since their
marriage. Therefore, respondent 1 was not and could not be his wife during the
subsistence of his first marriage and she had filed a false petition claiming her
relationship with him.
The counsel for the petitioner referred to the judgment in Yamunabai Anantrao
Adhav vs. Anantrao Shivram Adhay & Anr. where it was held that a Hindu lady
who married with a person who had a living lawfully wedded wife after the
Hindu Marriage Act came into force, cannot be treated as ‘legally wedded wife’
and consequently her claim for maintenance under Section 125 CrPC is not
OBSERVATIONS OF THE COURT
The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that evidence was led by both the parties
and after hearing the arguments the learned JMFC negatived the defense of the
petitioner. These findings are upheld by the learned Additional Sessions Judge
in his judgment while dismissing the revision petition of the petitioner as well
as the High Court.
The apex court proceeded on the basis that the marriage between the Badshah
and Urmila was solemnized; respondent 1 cohabited with the petitioner after
the said marriage; and respondent 2 is begotten as out of the said cohabitation,
whose biological father is the petitioner. However, it would be pertinent to
record that respondent 1 had produced overwhelming evidence, which was
believed by the learned JMFC that the marriage between the parties took place
on 10.2.2005 at Devgad Temple.
The learned JMFC proceeded on the basis that the petitioner was married to
Shobha and was having two children out of the wedlock. At the same time, it
has also come on record that the petitioner duped respondent 1 by not
revealing the fact of his first marriage and pretending that he was single. After
this marriage, both lived together and respondent 2 was also born from this
wedlock. In such circumstances, whether respondents could have filed
application under Section 125 of the CrPC is the issue.
It was observed by the Supreme Court that so far as respondent 2 is concerned,
who is proved to be the daughter of the petitioner, in no case he can shun the
liability and obligation to pay maintenance to her. The learned counsel
ventured to dispute the legal obligation qua respondent 1 only.
The Supreme Court referred to Dwarika Prasad Satpathy vs. Bidyut Prava Dixit
& Anr. (1999) 7 SCC 675 in which it was held that the validity of the marriage
for the purpose of summary proceeding under Section 125 CrPC is to be
determined on the basis of the evidence brought on record by the parties. The
standard of proof of marriage in such proceeding is not as strict as is required
in a trial of the offense under Section 494 of the IPC.
If the claimant in proceedings under Section 125 of the Code succeeds in
showing that she and the respondent have lived together as husband and wife,
the court can presume that they are legally wedded spouse. In such situation,
the party who denies the marital status can rebut the presumption. Once it is
admitted that the marriage procedure was followed, it is not necessary to
further probe into whether the said procedure was complete as per the Hindu
The court also referred to Chanmuniya vs. Virendra Kumar Singh Kushwaha &
Anr. (2011) 1 SCC 141where it was held that the term ‘wife’ occurring in Section
125 of CrPC is to be given a very wide interpretation.
The court held that the second wife is entitled to maintenance under Section
125 and the petitioner duped the respondent by hiding the information about
his first marriage. He cannot deny his second wife’s right to maintenance. The
court’s decision was based on the following reasons:
If a man and woman have been living together for a long time even
without a valid marriage, the term of valid marriage entitling such woman
to maintenance should be drawn and a woman in such a case should be
entitled to maintenance under Section 125.
A false representation was given to respondent 1 that he was single and
was competent to enter into a marital tie with respondent 1. The petitioner
cannot be allowed to take advantage of his own wrong and deny
maintenance to his second wife. For the purpose of Section 125 CrPC,
respondent 1 would be treated as the wife of the petitioner.
The wife was unaware of the first marriage of the husband.
The purpose of Section 125 is to achieve ‘social justice’ which is enshrined
in the Preamble of the Constitution of India.
A woman who is the second wife is also entitled to the right of maintenance
under Section 125 when there is sufficient evidence to prove that she was
unaware of her husband’s previous wedding and the second wedding was
performed in accordance with the personal laws.
Thus supreme court judgment on maintenance observed that second wife is not
entitled to maintenance generally but where she was unaware of husband’s
first marriage she is entitled to maintenance under section 125.
In case the husband denies maintenance to his wife, a maintenance petition
under Section 125 of the CrPC can be filed with help of a divorce lawyer.
Supreme court judgment on 125 crpc has has laid down the right of