A division bench of Apex Court, recorded that Trial Courts are not following Rajnesh Vs Neha Guidelines and directed the circular to be re-issued for strict adherence and compliance.
From Para 8,
8. The manner in which maintenance payable under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or Section 125 Cr.P.C. is to be assessed, was considered by this Court in its celebrated judgment in Rajnesh v. Neha and Another, (2021) 2 SCC 324. Detailed guidelines were issued. It was noticed that the terms of maintenance are decided on the basis of pleadings of parties and on the basis of some amount of guess work. It is often seen that both the parties submit scanty material and do not disclose correct details. The tendency of the wife is to exaggerate her needs, whereas the husband tends to conceal his actual income. Keeping that in view, this Court laid down the procedure to streamline grant of maintenance. The judgments of various courts were referred to and response from various State Legal Services Authorities was sought. This Court even requested the National Legal Services Authority to submit a report on the suggestions received from the State Legal Services Authorities for framing guidelines on the affidavit of disclosure of assets and liabilities to be filed by the parties. Guidelines were issued in exercise of powers under Article 136 read with Article 142 of the Constitution of India, prescribing a uniform format of Affidavit of Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities to be filed in maintenance proceedings. The judgment was delivered on 04.11.2020. The affidavit was to be submitted in all maintenance proceedings including pending proceedings.
From Para 14,
14. Nothing is evident from the record or even pointed out by the learned counsel for the appellant at the time of hearing that affidavits were filed by both the parties in terms of judgment of this Court in Rajnesh’s case (supra), which was directed to be communicated to all the High Courts for further circulation to all the Judicial Officers for awareness and implementation. The case in hand is not in isolation. Even after pronouncement of the aforesaid judgment, this Court is still coming across number of cases decided by the courts below fixing maintenance, either interim or final, without their being any affidavit on record filed by the parties. Apparently, the officers concerned have failed to take notice of the guidelines issued by this Court for expeditious disposal of cases involving grant of maintenance. Comprehensive guidelines were issued pertaining to overlapping jurisdiction among courts when concurrent remedies for grant of maintenance are available under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, Section 125 Cr.P.C., the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, and Criteria for determining quantum of maintenance, date from which maintenance is to be awarded, enforcement of orders of maintenance including fixing payment of interim maintenance. As a result, the litigation which should close at the trial level is taken up to this Court and the parties are forced to litigate.
From Para 16,
Aditi Sharma Vs Jitesh Sharma on 06 Nov 2023
16. Considering the facts of the case in hand and the other similar cases coming across before this Court not adhering to the guidelines given in Rajnesh’s case (supra), we deem it appropriate to direct the Secretary General of this Court to re-circulate the aforesaid judgment not only to all the Judicial Officers through the High Courts concerned but also to the National Judicial Academy and the State Judicial Academies, to be taken note of during the training programmes as well. Ordered accordingly.
Earlier ‘cryptic’ Judgment of NP High Court at Gwalior is below.Jitesh Sharma Vs Aditi Sharma on 28 Jun 2023
Rajnesh Vs Neha case is here.
Index of Maintenance cases is here.