SC dismisses petition seeking cancellation of alimony to wife

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New Delhi, Jan 27 (UNI) The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition challenging the Delhi High Court's order directing payment of maintenance to second wife.

A Bench comprising Justice B N Agrawal and Justice G S Singhvi dismissed the petition of Manjeet Singh Chawla, a resident of Defence Colony, who challenged the Delhi High Court order dated September 20, 2007 directing the trial court to decide the claim for maintenance under the Hindu Marriage Act, filed by Narinder Pal Kaur Chawla on merit.

The High Court also directed that the husband should pay interim maintenance of Rs 1500 per month as per the order of the Supreme Court dated April 21, 2004.

The apex court directed the wife should be allowed the rights of separate residence on the second floor of the husband's house.

Narinder and Manjeet were married on December 11, 1977 according to the Sikh Rights at Jalandhar and later shifted to Defence Colony, New Delhi.

The wife came to know that her husband was already married to one Amarjeet Kaur and filed a case of bigamy against him.

The wife contended that the second marriage may be illegal, still she was entitled to alimony as she had been cheated by her husband who concealed the fact that he was already married and had deserted his first wife.

The trial court dismissed Narinder's petition on the grounds that the second wife was not entitled to maintenance as the second marriage during the subsistence of the first marriage is null and void.

The petitioner, however, contended before the High Court that the Hindus, particularly from royal family, had been keeping more than one wife and the society had accepted the position. While the second marriage had been declared illegal only after the Hindu Marriage Act came into force but prior to that customary Hindu law like Mohammedan law permitted bigamous marriage and the bar had been created only by section 5 (i) of the Act.

The High Court accepted the contentions and directed the trial court to reconsider the whole controversy on merit.

The apex court refused to entertain Manjeet Singh's petition holding that the trial court had already seized the matter.

Manjeet Singh was an employee of the Oriental Bank of Commerce at the time of marriage.

UNI AKS/SC SW AS1401

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