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Daughter not entitled to money from father if she does not want to maintain any ties with him
Ajay Kumar Rathee Vs Seema Rathee
Civil Appeal No. 5141/2011
About/from the judgment:
While passing a decree of divorce on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage, the Supreme Court refused to allow the daughter born to the couple to claim education and marriage expenses from her father as she said that she does not want to maintain relationship with him.
The Court said that in the instant case, the daughter is 20 years old and is free to choose her path but since he does not want to maintain any relationship with the father, she cannot demand any money from him for education.
"In so far as the daughter’s expenses for education and marriage are concerned, it appears from her approach that she does not want to maintain any relationship with the appellant and is about 20 years of age. She is entitled to choose her own path but then cannot demand from the appellant the amount towards the education. We, thus, hold that the daughter is not entitled to any amount," the Court said.
The Court, however, said that while determining the amount to be paid as permanent alimony to the mother, it would take care to see that if the mother so desires to support the daughter, funds are available.
The Court was hearing a divorce plea filed by the husband after the same was turned down by the Punjab & Haryana High Court.
By way of background, the husband had initially filed a plea for restitution of conjugal rights, which was dismissed. He subsequently filed a plea seeking dissolution of marriage before the district judge.
The plea was allowed on the ground of desertion and thereafter challenged before the Punjab & Haryana High Court by the wife. The High Court set aside the lower court order, prompting the husband to approach the Supreme Court in appeal.
While the divorce plea was pending, attempts at reconciliation was made before the Supreme Court Mediation Centre. Even the aspect of the daughter and father was subjected to reconciliation proceedings.
The daughter had been living with her mother since birth and now at the age of 20, she did not want anything to do with her father.
The mediation report was one of failure and the relationship between the father and daughter had "become acrimonious and unpleasant in terms of the telephonic conversations."
The Court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India declared the two-decade-old marriage between the appellant and respondent over on the ground of "irretrievable breakdown of marriage."
The two-judge bench held that "nothing really subsists in this marriage except mutual acrimony."
"It is not even possible for the parties to sit across the table or to even talk over telephone to come to a reasonable understanding. There remains no doubt about irretrievable breakdown of marriage in the facts of the present case," the Court said.
Regarding the daughter's expenses, the Court held that she won't be entitled to any amount towards towards education.
"But while determining the amount to be paid as permanent alimony to the respondent, we are still taking care to see that if the respondent so desires to support the daughter, funds are available," the order said.
Thereby the top court fixed the permanent alimony of the respondent, at present being paid at ₹8,000 per month as interim maintenance, at ₹10 lakh in full and final settlement of all claims.
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