SIDDA SETTY Vs. MUNIAMMA
LAWS(MAD)-1953-1-19
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
Decided on January 08,1953

Sidda Setty Appellant
VERSUS
MUNIAMMA Respondents

JUDGEMENT

Krishnaswami Nayudu, J. - (1.) THE husband in a suit by the -second wife for separate residence and maintenance is the appellant in the civil miscellaneous; appeal. He had already married one Pattammal as his first wife. There were disputes between, him and his first wife. The first wife obtained a decree for maintenance against the defendant. Subsequently, there was a rapprochement between, the first wife and the defendant and the first wife came and joined her husband, while the plaintiff was living with him. The plaintiff's, case is that the defendant joined his first wife -Pattammal and drove her out of the house after' treating her cruelly and removing the jewels from her and this incident happened on the -Sivarathri day in 1944, and that she was threatened that she would be beaten if she came and joined. The defendant denied any cruel treatment or refusal to maintain the plaintiff and stated that the suit was instituted as he -had patched up his differences with his first wife and she had come and Joined him and that the suit was at the instance of the plaintiff's father, who is stated to be a wealthy man and who was insisting that the defendant should settle some -property on his daughter as the defendant had done for his first wife.
(2.) ONE of the issues raised in the suit was whether the alleged ill -treatment of the plaintiff by the defendant was true. The learned District Munsif held against the plaintiff on this issue and he believed the defendant's version as more -probable that on account of the defendant taking back his first wife, the plaintiff's father relented his action and took away his daughter. In appeal, the learned Subordinate judge of Coimbatore, while agreeing with the finding of the first, Court that the allegations of cruelty were not proved, found, however, that there were quarrels in the house between the two wives and consequently the plaintiff was not able to live in her husband's household with peace and honors due to a wedded wife, that the plaintiff was the victim of systematic unkind and unsympathetic treatment at the hands of her co -wife resulting in mental cruelty to her and that the defendant had been guilty of not protecting the plaintiff from the cruelty of his senior wife, all of which may be considered sufficient under Clause (7) of Section 2 of the Hindu Married Women's Right to Separate Residence and Maintenance Act 19 of 1946 to constitute "justifiable cause" entitling her to separate residence and maintenance. The evidence in the case does not support the finding of the learned Subordinate Judge that the plaintiff has been the victim of systematic unkind and unsympathetic treatment at the hands of 'her co -wife and the defendant did not protect the plaintiff from the senior wife's cruelty. The plaintiff, who was examined as P. W. 5, speaks to the incident of her being driven out of the family on a particular occasion after removing the jewels and states that in respect of the jewels there was a panchayat. In cross -examination, she says that she filed a suit because the defendant had settled properties on Pattammal, that if similar property was given to her she would agree to it and that the occasion referred to was the first occasion the defendant had assaulted her, and prior to that they were on good terms. Her charge is against her husband for assaulting her; but there is nothing in tier evidence to show that she was treated cruelly by the co -wife.. The first wife has borne two children to the defendant and there is nothing in the plaintiff's evidence as to any ill -treatment by the co -wife. It may be that after the first wife came and lived with the defendant his affection to the second wife might have waned, especially as the first wife had given birth to children. On the evidence, therefore, apart from the plaintiff not establishing any cruelty on the part of her husband towards her, she has also not specifically alleged, much less proved, that she has been subjected to cruelty by the first wife, or that she has been the victim of systematic unkind and unsympathetic treatment at her hands resulting in mental cruelty. Those findings of the learned Subordinate Judge are not supported by the evidence and therefore cannot stand.
(3.) THE position is that the plaintiff was married as the second wife to the defendant when his first wife was living and it will not tie open to her to urge that being the second wife she should be allowed to live alone with her husband and that the first wife should not join the defendant. It is needless to point out that, except in very exceptional circumstances, co -wives do not generally live in good terms. There are bound to be petty quarrels and jealousies between them, which are the natural consequences of marrying one who has already a wife. Not only Hindu law but Hindu society recognize the right of a husband to take more than one wife and the taking of a second wife happens ordinarily in cases where the husband has no issue by the first wife or where by reason of her health or mental condition she is incapable of affording the husband the pleasure and happiness which the husband could expect from his wife. Hindu society however never favoured a plurality of wives and in all case 3 where there has been such plurality of wives, there would nave been, some justification for the subsequent marriage for any of the grounds specified above, mostly to satisfy the desire of the husband to have a son to perpetuate his lineage, which is considered to be necessary for the spiritual benefit of the members of the family.;


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