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Interlocutory Orders Under Section 24 Of Hm Act Not Appealable Under Section 19 Of Fc Act; Revision Under Article 227 Permitted.

Sanskriti Tiwari ,
  27 March 2024       Share Bookmark

Court :
High Court of Madras
Brief :

Citation :
2024 MHC 1405

CASE NAME:

S. Menaka vs. KSK Napolian Socraties

CASE DATE:

21st March, 2024

PARTIES:-

Petitioner: S. Menaka

Respondent: KSK Nepolian Socraties

BENCH:-

Justice M Sundar

Justice K Govindaranjan Thilakvadi

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS:-

  1. Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, which deals with interim maintenance orders.
  2. Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act, regarding appeals against decrees and orders.
  3. Section 19 of the Family Courts Act, concerning appeals from orders of Family Courts.
  4. Article 227 of the Constitution of India, providing for the power of superintendence over all courts by the High Court.

SUBJECT:-

The case investigated the appealability of interim maintenance orders under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act. The petitioner contended that such orders were appealable under Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act, while the respondent argued they were not under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act. The court found that while they were not appealable, they could be changed in accordance with Article 227 of the Constitution.

OVERVIEW:-

  • The case involved multiple Civil Miscellaneous Appeals and Civil Revision Petitions concerning the maintainability of appeals under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act (FC Act) against orders for pendente lite maintenance under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act (HM Act). Parties have taken opposing positions on this issue, leading to a series of hearings and submissions by learned counsels. Additionally, Mr. Sharath Chandran was appointed as an Amicus Curiae to assist the court. Taking into account the submissions made by both the parties, the court concluded that appeals under Section 19 of the FC Act as well as Section 28 of the HM Act are not maintainable against orders for pendente lite maintenance under Section 24 of the HM Act. The court reasoned that the appeals under the HM Act are restricted to decrees, not orders and that orders are considered as interlocutory and thus not appealable under the FC Act. The case was adjourned for further consideration and verdict.

ISSUES RAISED BEFORE THE COURT:-

  • Whether appeals under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act are maintainable against orders for interim maintenance under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act?
  • Whether orders issued under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act constitute interlocutory orders or appealable decrees, particularly in the context of their finality and conclusive determination of rights?
  • Whether the amendments to Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act indicate a legislative intent to exclude appeals against interim orders?
  • Whether the definitions of ‘decree’, ‘order’ and ‘judgment’ under the Civil Procedure Code apply to interpretations under the Family Courts Act?
  • Whether revision under Article 227 of the Constitution of India is the appropriate remedy for challenging orders of interim maintenance under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act?
  • Whether delay in filing appeals should affect the preservation of rights for seeking revision under Article 227?
  • Whether the procedural rules regarding free copies of judgments and orders provide insights into the categorization of orders under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act?

CONTENTIONS RAISED ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONER:-

  • The learned counsel for the petitioner argued that appeals against orders of interim maintenance under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act should be permissible under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act or Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act.
  • He asserted that asserted that orders of interim maintenance should be considered as final judgments rather than interlocutory orders.
  • The counsel contested the interpretation of amendments to Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act, suggesting that the legislative intent did not exclude appeals against interim orders.
  • The petitioner advocated for the application of definitions of ‘decree’, ‘order’ and ‘judgment’ under the Civil Procedure Code to interpretations under the Family Courts Act.
  • They argued for the availability of revision under Article 227 of the Constitution of India as the appropriate remedy for challenging orders of interim maintenance under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act.
  •  He emphasized that delay in filing appeals should not affect the preservation of rights for seeking revision under Article 227.

CONTENTIONS RASIED ON BEHALF OF THE RESPONDENT:-

  • The learned counsel for the respondent argued that appeals against orders of interim maintenance under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act should not be permissible under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act or Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act.
  • He asserted that orders of interim maintenance should be considered as interlocutory orders rather than final judgments.
  •  The respondent contested the petitioner’s interpretation of legislative amendments to Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act, suggesting that the legislative intent excluded appeals against interim orders.
  • They advocated for the application of definitions of ‘decree’, ‘order’ and ‘judgment’ under the Civil Procedure Code to interpretations under the Family Courts Act.
  • He argued against the availability of revision under Article 227 of the Constitution of India as the appropriate remedy for challenging orders of interim maintenance under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act.
  • The respondent sought to limit the petitioner’s options for seeking redressal to preserve the finality of orders of interim maintenance.

ANALYSIS BY THE COURT:-

  •  The court noted the complexity surrounding the appealability of orders of interim maintenance under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act.
  •   There was a recognition of divergent views among different High Courts on the maintainability of appeals against such orders.
  •  The absence of a definitive pronouncement by the Supreme Court on the appealability of orders of interim maintenance was highlighted.
  •  The implications of legislative amendments and procedural rules on the appealability of orders of interim maintenance were considered.
  •  Appreciation was expressed for the diligence and fairness exhibited by the counsels representing both sides.
  •   A meticulous approach was demonstrated in analysing the legal issues and arriving at a reasoned conclusion based on the available evidence and legal framework.

JUDGMENT:-

The court rendered its decision following careful consideration of the arguments made and the references to legal precedents. It was decided that appeals under Section 19 of the FC Act and Section 28 of the HM Act against orders of pendente lite maintenance under Section 24 of the HM Act were impermissible. However, it clarified that revision petitions under Article 227 of the Constitution of India were deemed admissible against such orders. The court underscored that orders of interim maintenance under Section 24 are interlocutory in nature, subject to review or modification. It emphasized that the non obstante clause in Section 19(1) of the Family Courts Act did not supersede the definitions provided in the Code of Civil Procedure for terms like “judgment”, “order” and “decree”. While certain pending appeals were dismissed as not maintainable, the court preserved the appellants’ rights to file revision petitions under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, excluding the time spent during the appeal process. The court also detagged certain matters for separate consideration and refrained from expressing opinions on their maintainability in the current judgment. It acknowledged the contributions of the amicus curiae and counsels representing both parties, affirming its commitment to upholding justice and fairness through a thorough analysis of legal principles and statutory provisions.

CONCLUSION:-

Based on the case’s proceedings and the court’s judgment, it’s understood that appeals against orders of interim maintenance under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act are not permissible under Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act or Section 19 of the Family Courts Act. However, the court clarified that revision petitions under Article 227 of the Constitution of India are viable avenues for seeking redress against such orders. By detagging certain matters for separate consideration and allowing the preservation of appellants’ rights to pursue revision petitions, the court ensured a fair and accessible legal process. The judgment underscores the importance of careful legal analysis, adherence to statutory provisions and the protection of parties’ rights within the framework of the law.

 
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