Topic: P.C. Prema vs A.P. Sreekumar - maintanence - Marumakkathayam Act 1933

P.C. Prema vs A.P. Sreekumar
Equivalent citations: AIR 1995 SC 1000 - Bench: K Singh, B Hansaria - Date of Judgment: 6 September, 1994

Supreme Court held that the marriage between the parties was rightly under s.7 of the Madras Marumakkathayam Act 1933 and the husband was directed to pay rupees one lakh as ex gratia compensation to the wife.

JUDGMENT

1. This appeal is sequel to an application filed by the respondent (husband) before the Munsif under Section 7 of the Madras Marumakkathayam Act (the Act) for dissolution of marriage. The application was dismissed. The Appellate Court reversed the findings of the Munsif and allowed the application. A learned single Judge of the High Court in second appeal, reversed the findings of the Lower Appellate Court and upheld that of the Munsif. The Division Bench of the High Court, however, set aside the judgment of the learned single Judge and agreed with the Lower Appellate Court. The net result is that as a result of the judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court the application filed by the respondent (husband) has been allowed and the marriage between the parties has been dissolved. This appeal, by way of special leave, is against the judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court.

2. Learned Counsel for the appellant has contended that the marriage having been performed by way of Sapthapadi ceremony around the 'homa' the provisions of the Act were not applicable and as such the application before the Munsif was not competent. The Division Bench of the High Court relying upon the testimony of PW-1 found as under: We think the requirement of the law would be satisfied by a statement of the type made by PW-1 that the marriage was performed in accordance with the Marumakkathayam custom; especially when, as in this case, the said statement has not been effectively challenged. The customary rites of a Marumakkathayam marriage are simple and well known. That being so, we are satisfied that in the instant case, the petitioner-husband has proved a marriage in accordance with the requirements of Section 4 of Madras Marumakkathayam Act and was therefore en titled to have dissolution ordered by the Court under Section 7 of the Act. The direction to that effect granted by the appellate Court was correct and the learned Judge was wrong in reversing the said judgment.

3. We have been taken through the statement of PW-1. It is no doubt correct that in the cross-examination the witness has stated that the marriage was conducted by Sapthapadi around 'homa' and before the sacred fire. The witness has, however, in his examination-in-chief stated as under: We belong to the Thiyya Community. We follow Marumakkathayam. The marriage was conducted as per the custom of the Marumakkathayam.

The Division Bench of the High Court on appreciating the totality of evidence came to the conclusion which we have quoted above. We see no ground to differ with the reasoning and the conclusions reached by the High Court.

4. We have been informed by learned Counsel for the parties that after the Division Bench-judgment the respondent has already remarried. We see no ground to interfere with the judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court.

5. There is, however, another aspect of the matter. This Court on August 13, 1993 passed the following order: After hearing the case for sometime a suggestion was made to the parties to have their dispute computed out of the Court. The learned Counsel appearing for the respondent now states that the respondent is prepared to pay a sum of rupees one lakh by way of a cross demand draft drawn in favour of the appellant within a period of four months in full and final settlement of all the disputes between the parties. If a compromise is accepted by the counsel for the appellant the matter is adjourned for a period of four months. List the matter on 10th December, 1993 before this Bench. In case the Bench is not constituted list the matter in Chamber at 1.30 p.m. Despite various adjournments the parties have not been able to come to any settlement. We are of the view that the interest of justice would be met if we direct the respondent (husband) to pay a sum of Rs. 1,00,000/- (one lakh) to the appellant as exgratia compensation. The amount shall be paid by the respondent to the appellant by way of a cross demand draft drawn in favour of the appellant. This shall be done within a period of three months.

6. The appeal is dismissed with the above direction regarding payment of Rs. 1,00,000/- by the respondent to the appellant. No costs.