Major Unmarried Daughter Can't Claim Maintenance From Father Merely Because She Is Unable To Maintain Herself: Kerala HC
The Kerala High Court has reiterated that a major unmarried daughter cannot claim maintenance from the father merely on the ground that she is not able to maintain herself.
The Court held that the major unmarried daughter is entitled to maintenance, where she is by reason of any physical or mental abnormality or injury unable to maintain herself, for which, pleadings and evidence in this regard are mandatory.
A Single Bench of Justice A. Badharudeen observed, “… the legal position emerges is that by virtue of Section 125 (1) of Cr.P.C, an unmarried daughter, who attained majority, could not claim maintenance in the ordinary circumstance, viz. merely on the ground that she does not have means for her sustenance. At the same time, even though the unmarried daughter, who attained majority, is entitled for maintenance, where such unmarried daughter is by reason of any physical or mental abnormality or injury is unable to maintain herself, for which, pleadings and evidence in this regard are mandatory.”
The Bench further said that the legal proposition is that an unmarried Hindu daughter can claim maintenance from her father till she is married resorting to Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, provided, she pleads and proves that she is unable to maintain herself, for enforcement of which right her application/suit must be under Section 20 of the said Act.
Advocate K.P. Sujesh Kumar represented the petitioner while Public Prosecutor G. Sudheer represented the respondents.
Brief Facts –
The respondents i.e., the wife and daughter of the petitioner had approached the Family Court for the allowance of maintenance on the ground that they did not have means of maintenance. The petitioner contended that he had been working in a tailoring shop on a daily wage basis and had been getting Rs.500/- as daily wage and denied the illicit relationship alleged against him.
The Family Court, based on the evidence, granted Rs.10,000/- and Rs.8,000/- as maintenance to the wife and daughter of the petitioner respectively per month from the date of filing of the petition. Hence, the petitioner approached the High Court by filing a Revision Petition.
The questions that emanated in the petition before the Court were –
1. Whether an unmarried daughter can claim an allowance of maintenance under Section 125(1) of Cr.PC. even after attaining a majority? If so, on what contingency?
2. Is there any other enabling provision of law for a Hindu unmarried daughter to claim maintenance dehors the provision under Section 125 of Cr.PC?
The High Court while considering the aforementioned questions asserted, “… no evidence let in to show that the 2nd respondent has any physical or mental abnormality, or she has any injury so that she could not maintain herself and, therefore, grant of maintenance to the 2nd respondent, (who is now aged above 18 years) from the date of attaining majority, is found to be erroneous and thereby the order impugned stands set aside to that extent, limiting entitlement of maintenance by the 2nd respondent till the date she attained majority.”
The Court further noted that the Family Court rightly granted Rs.10,000/- as the allowance of monthly maintenance to the wife of the petitioner and the same does not require any interference.
“… the order impugned stands modified confining Rs.8,000/- (Rupees Eight thousand only) per month as maintenance to the 2nd respondent till the date of her attaining majority, while confirming grant of maintenance @ Rs.10,000/- per month to the 1st respondent, as per the impugned order”, the Court directed.
The Court, therefore, upheld the maintenance provided to the wife of the petitioner and modified the one granted to his daughter.
Accordingly, the Court partly allowed the revision petition.
Cause Title- Gireesh Kumar. N v. Rajani K.V. & Anr.