The petitioner Jaspreet Singh (husband) seeks setting aside of order dated 25.07.2019 Family Courts, Ludhiana, whereby his application seeking issuance of a direction to respondent(wife) to comply with the order dated 23.10.2018 has been dismissed.
During the pendency of the aforesaid application, the petitioner Jaspreet Singh moved an application seeking issuance of a direction to be issued to respondent-wife admission or denial of certain facts as regards period of her employment since she had taken a different stand in her transfer application, filed in the High Court. The trial Court vide order dated 23.10.2018, issued a direction to respondent wife to clarify the facts pertaining to the period when she had been working and as to when she had left the job and for the said purpose she was directed to appear before the Court and to get her statement recorded to the said effect or to file an affidavit in respect of the same.
Since the respondent wife neither filed any affidavit nor furnished the requisite information as regards period of her employment as had been specifically directed vide order dated 23.10.2018, the petitioner moved an application before trial Court seeking issuance of a direction to the respondent either to make a statement in this regard or to furnish an affidavit for compliance of order dated 23.10.2018. However the trial Court, vide impugned order dated 25.07.2019, dismissed the said application.
21. The best practices should always be followed particularly if the same are for furtherance of efficient and effective justice dispensation. Furnishing of such affidavits would check the practice of playing “hide and seek” game in such cases where an attempt is made by a party to conceal the income and not come out with resources forcing the other party to make 29 of 32 ::: Downloaded on – 17-03-2022 11:56:01 ::: ( 30 ) CRM-M- 36522 – 2019 (O & M) tiring efforts to collect information which would otherwise be readily available with such party. Sometimes the information is such the existence of which, a party can not even deny. As discussed above, the Courts handling such matters, particularly Family Courts, are competent to devise their own procedure for eliciting requisite information, though of course within the broad framework of law.
Para 22. Consequently, the following directions are issued to Family Courts in the States of Punjab, Haryana and Union Territory of Chandigarh and also to all Courts handling matrimonial litigation in the said states:
- The Courts shall insist upon the parties to furnish “Affidavit of assets, income and expenditure” in the format reproduced above;
- The Courts shall generally follow the directions issued in Kusum Sharma’s case, as have been reproduced above;
- The Courts would be at liberty to modify the format and the directions as may be deemed necessary in the facts and circumstances of the case;
- In exceptional cases, the Court may also dispense with the aforesaid requirement of furnishing affidavits especially in cases where the parties belong to the lowest strata of society and are absolutely not likely to be possessed of the sources detailed in the format or where the Court is of the opinion that directing the party to furnish such affidavit would cause unnecessary inconvenience to the party and is not likely to render any fruitful purpose;
- In case it is found that any of the party is making a deliberate attempt to conceal vital information or is trying to mislead the Court, then apart from the penal action which may be warranted on account of such concealment/false statement, it shall be open to the 30 of 32 ::: Downloaded on – 17-03-2022 11:56:01 ::: ( 31 ) CRM-M- 36522 – 2019 (O & M) Court to consider drawing an adverse inference against such party if the conduct of such party so warrants;
- These guidelines be followed in all matrimonial cases including cases under Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Section 125 Cr.P.C, Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, Special Marriage Act, 1954, Indian Divorce Act, 1869, Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 and Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956.
- The Courts concerned may also issue directions to the parties with regard to filing of requisite affidavits even in pending cases in case it is felt that the parties are not forthcoming with the requisite information with regard to their sources of income; (viii) the Courts would be competent to issue any direction at any stage of the proceedings to any of the parties to elicit such information as may be required to reach at a just decision in the matter pertaining to award of maintenance;
- In case it is found that requisite information as regards resources of any of the parties is not forthcoming, the Courts could even consider appointment of a local commissioner to visit the place of abode or business of any of the parties so as to get an idea about the standard of living and social status of the parties.