Obligation of a father to maintain his son will not come to an end when he attains majority
Urvashi Aggarwal Vs Inderpaul Aggarwal
About/from the judgment:
The High Court has held that the obligation of a father to maintain his son under sec. 125 of CrPC would not come to an end when the son attains the age of majority after reasoning that the entire burden of his education including other expenses would fall entirely upon the mother.
A single judge bench directed that a sum of Rs. 15,000 per month is to be given as interim maintenance to the mother from the date of the son attaining majority till completion of his graduation or starts earning, whichever is earlier.The Court observed:
"It cannot be said that the obligation of a father would come to an end when his son reaches 18 years of age and the entire burden of his education and other expenses would fall only on the mother. The amount earned by the mother has to be spent on her and on her children without any contribution by the father because the son has attained majority."
Furthermore, it said:
"The Court cannot shut its eyes to the rising cost of living. It is not reasonable to expect that the mother alone would bear the entire burden for herself and for the son with the small amount of maintenance given by the respondent herein towards the maintenance of his daughter."
The Court was dealing with a revision petition against the order dated 21st April, 2018 passed by the Additional Principal Judge, Family Court declining maintenance to the wife and granting the same only to the two children i.e. daughter and son of Rs. 7,000 each which was later enhanced to Rs. 13,000 per month. The husband however, re married and got a child from the second marriage.
Noting that both the husband and wife were government employees working as Upper Divisional Clerk in Delhi Municipal Corporation and Joint General Manager (HR) with the Airports Authority of India respectively.
According to the affidavit filed by the mother in 2016, it was stated that her monthly income is Rs. 43, 792 and that the monthly expenditure is Rs. 75,000. On the other hand, the affidavit filed by the husband showed that he earned a gross salary of Rs. 96,089 per month.
After an application for grant of interim maintenance claiming a sum of Rs. 40,000 was moved by the wife in Family Court, the Court had concluded that since the wife was earning sufficiently for herself, she is not entitled to any maintenance. The Court also apportioned the income of the husband into 4 shares, out of which two shares have been given to the husband himself and one share each i.e. 25% was given to the two children.
The Court also said that the son of the parties would be entitled for maintenance till he attains the age of majority and the daughter would be entitled for the maintenance till she gets employment or gets married whichever is earlier.
Analyzing the aforesaid order by the Family Court, the Court was of the view that the object of Section 125 Cr.P.C is to prevent vagrancy and destitution of a deserted wife by providing her for the food, clothing and shelter by a speedy remedy.
"Since the purpose of granting interim maintenance is to ensure that the wife and the children are not put to starvation, the Courts while fixing interim maintenance are not expected to dwell into minute and excruciating details and facts which have to be proved by the parties." The Court said.
"The balance has to be taken care of by the wife i.e. the petitioner No.1 herein, who is also earning and is equally responsible for the child. The respondent has married again and has a child from the second marriage. This Court cannot shut its eyes to the fact that the respondent has equal responsibility towards the child from the second marriage. The further reduction of the amount after the birth of the child from the second marriage of the respondent also cannot be found fault with and the reasoning given by the Family Court does not warrant any interference at this juncture."
However, the Court also said that the Family Court had failed to appreciate the fact that since no contribution is being made by the husband towards the son, the salary earned by wife would not be sufficient for her to maintain herself.
"This Court cannot shut its eyes to the fact that at the age of 18 the education of petitioner No.2 is not yet over and the petitioner No.2 cannot sustain himself. The petitioner No.2 would have barely passed his 12th Standard on completing 18 years of age and therefore the petitioner No.1 has to look after the petitioner No.2 and bear his entire expenses." The Court said at the outset.
In view of this, the Court directed thus:
"The amount earned by the petitioner No.1 will not be sufficient for the family of three, i.e. the mother and two children to sustain themselves. The amount spent on the petitioner No.2 will not be available for the petitioner No.1. This Court is therefore inclined to grant a sum of Rs.15,000/- per month as interim maintenance to the petitioner No.1 from the date of petitioner No.2 attaining the age of majority till he completes his graduation or starts earning whichever is earlier."
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