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Mumbai,Prabhati Nayak Mishra: Rejecting the argument of the man, a Mumbaikar, that only a legally wedded wife can claim maintenance under the Hindu Marriage Act, a bench headed by Justice Vikramajit Sen upheld the Bombay High Court’s order allowing her to move before the appropriate forum to claim maintenance.
The legal battle of a woman for nearly two decades finally bore fruit, when the Supreme Court on Tuesday came to her rescue and held that she could claim maintenance from her estranged live-in partner, who is already a married man.
Rejecting the argument of the man, a Mumbaikar, that only a legally wedded wife can claim maintenance under the Hindu Marriage Act, a bench headed by Justice Vikramajit Sen upheld the Bombay High Court’s order allowing her to move before the appropriate forum to claim maintenance.
The bench dismissed the man’s plea challenging the HC verdict, which also directed him to pay the maintenance for their 27-year-old daughter.
The apex court took serious objection to the contention against the woman that she was a call girl when he met her in Mumbai. “How absurd is your argument. You want the court to be sympathetic but you brand the poor lady as call girl. You are such an idiot that you went for relationship when you were married.”
Appearing for the man, counsel Keshav Ranjan argued that the HC had declined the woman’s plea to declare her marriage (as she claimed to have had held at a city temple). He also argued that his client does not deny the live-in relationship and has been paying all the expenses for his daughter who is pursuing engineering.
According to the man’s plea before the apex court, he was married and had four children from his first wife, before he came in contact with the woman in Mumbai in 1986.
They were staying together and their relationship lasted till 1995 and during which a girl was born in 1988
Taking the ground that the couple got married at a temple before they stayed together, the woman moved before a family court seeking direction to declare her marriage legally valid under the Hindu Marriage Act in 1996, but the same was countered by the man. She had also claimed maintenance for herself and their daughter.
The family court, which directed the man to pay maintenance of daughter, had dismissed her plea on both marriage and maintenance. In July 2014, she challenged the decision in HC. While the high court declined the woman’s plea with regard to her marriage, it allowed her to move appropriate court to claim maintenance.