Decided on November 28,1963



- (1.) These two appeals arise out of O. S. Nos. 52 of 1955 and 45 of 1956 on the file of the Subordinate Judges Court, Bapatla. The appellant was the plaintiff in both the suits. The first suit was for recovery of the value of 39 tolas of gold which was alleged to be the mahar due to the plaintiff from her husband, who divorced her on 7-6-1955, and also for recovery of Jewels worth Rs. 5,000.00 and wrist watch worth Rs. 6,00.00. The parties are Muslims. The plaintiff, who was about 18 years old, was married to the defendant-respondent on 4-5-1955 at Bapatla where her sister resided with her husband (P. W. 3) The day after the marriage, the defendant-respondent took the plaintiff to Pondicherry. On his way, he stopped at Hyderabad for about three days. After reaching Pondicherry, the husband and wife lived there for about two weeks. On 27-5-1955, the plaintiffs sister and her husband (P. W. 3) went to Pondicherry with the object of taking the plaintiff back to Bapatla for making the customary visits after the marriage. The evidence in the case shows that the unannounced arrival of P. W. 3 and his wife (plaintiffs sister) at Pondicherry annoyed the defendant-respondent. It is not necessary to refer to the background of mistrust or suspicion which the defendant-respondent, according to his evidence, had already entertained against the plaintiff. The result of it all was that P. W. 3 and his wife did not receive a warn reception from the defendant- respondent. If appears from the evidence that the defendant was not happy about the plaintiff being taken back to Baptla. However, the plaintiff accompanied her sister and P. W. 3 to Baptla. After reaching Baptla, P. W. 3 wrote to the defendant, but the reason of the defendant does not appear to have been pleasant. On 2-6-1955, the defendant sent a telegram Exhibit B-3 to P. W. 3 asking him not to send the plaintiff to him. This was followed by Exhibit A-37 dated 7-6-1955 conveying to P. W. 3 that he had divorced the plaintiff by pronouncing "Talak". Exhibit A-37 was received by P. W. 3 on 9-6-1955, and the plaintiff was duly informed of its contents the same day. Thereafter, on 4-7-1955, the plaintiff caused a lawyers notice. (Exhibit B-7) to be issued to the defendant demanding the mahar of 39 tolas of gold and also the return of the jewels of the plaintiff which the defendant had removed at Pondicherry and kept with him before the departure of the plaintiff from Pondicherry to Baptla. The defendant did not accede to these demands. Eventually, O. S. No. 52 of 1955 was laid by the plaintiff on 21-7-1955.
(2.) The defendant resisted the suit by setting up that the marriage itself was not valid because it was brought about by misrepresentation, fraud and coercion and also because the consent of the contracting parties, viz., the plaintiff and the defendant, was not given before the requisite number of witnesses as required by Law. He further pleaded that he had agreed to pay only a mahar of 3 tolas of gold and not 39 tolas as claimed in the plaint. The other plea of his was that the jewels which were presented by him, were kept back at Baptla by the plaintiff when she proceeded with him to Pondicherry, and that, therefore, there was no question of the defendant removing the jewels and keeping them at Pondicherry. On this ground, he disowned liability for the claim regarding the jewels. He totally denied the claim regarding the wrist watch.
(3.) O. S. No. 45 of 1956 related to the plaintiffs claim for maintenance from the defendant for a period of one year from 2-6-1955 at the rate of Rs. 400.00 a month. In this suit also, the defendant raised the plea that the marriage was not valid and that the plaintiff was therefore not entitled to any maintenance. He further pleaded that the rate of maintenance claimed was excessive and that the rate could be only Rs. 50.00 per month, and also pointed out that the plaintiff was not entitled to claim any arrears of maintenance, and that therefore maintenance for the period of one year could not be granted to her in any event.;

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