This is the landmark ruling from Hon’ble Supreme Court wherein it was held that
“We are of the opinion that a broad and expansive interpretation should be given to the term “wife” to include even those cases where a man and woman have been living together as husband and wife for a reasonably long period of time, and strict proof of marriage should not be a precondition for maintenance under Section 125 CrPC, so as to fulfil the true spirit and essence of the beneficial provision of maintenance under Section 125. We also believe that such an interpretation would be a just application of the principles enshrined in the Preamble to our Constitution, namely, social justice and upholding the dignity of the individual.”
Chanmuniya Vs Virendra Kumar Singh Kushwaha and Anr on 5 September 2014
But in a para prior to this para, this case was referred to a larger bench (this was a 3-judge bench). But this case was but after two years dismissed as the advocate for appellant dies and the appellant did not pursue the case. Here is the Dismissal Order:
Here is the Para 45,
45.We, therefore, request the Hon’ble Chief Justice to refer the following, amongst other, questions to be decided by a larger Bench. According to us, the questions are:
1. Whether the living together of a man and woman as husband and wife for a considerable period of time would raise the presumption of a valid marriage between them and whether such a presumption would entitle the woman to maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C?
2. Whether strict proof of marriage is essential for a claim of maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C. having regard to the provisions of Domestic Violence Act, 2005?
3. Whether a marriage performed according to customary rites and ceremonies, without strictly fulfilling the requisites of Section 7(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, or any other personal law would entitle the woman to maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C.?
So, this judgment is NOT a landmark judgment as the question of law was NOT decided either by this Court nor by a larger bench of this Court.
Citation: [2011 ANJ SC 1 26], [2010 AIOL 681], [2011 SCC 1 141], [2011 ALLMR CRI SC 346], [2010 SCALE 10 602], [2011 BOMCR SC 2 787], [2011 SCC CRI 2 666], [2011 CRLJ SC 96], [2010 RCR CIVIL SC 4 801], [2010 JT 11 132], [2010 AIR SC 6497], [2011 SCC CIV 1 53]
Other Source links: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1949767/ or https://www.casemine.com/judgement/in/5609aedbe4b0149711414ea0
But this judgment declared it so here.