Fathers duty-bound to maintain daughters till marriage, says HC

It is the duty of every father to pay for expenses incurred towards the upkeep of his children until they attain majority and in the case of daughters such duty would extend not just till the girls attain majority but until they get married and settle down with their husbands, the Madras High Court has said.

Justice P. Velmurugan made the observation while dismissing a revision petition filed by an individual challenging a direction issued to him by a Judicial Magistrate in Alandur on September 20, 2018, to pay ₹8,000 a month for the maintenance of his minor daughter residing with his estranged wife. The petitioner had challenged the order on the ground that he was a man of no means and was jobless at present. He urged the High Court to set aside the order to pay maintenance for his daughter in toto or to at least reduce the quantum fixed by the trial court.

A counsel representing the petitioner’s wife and daughter claimed that he held a master’s degree in physical education and was employed in an engineering college in Nagercoil. However, no documents were produced in the court to prove that he was employed and earning well.

Nevertheless, pointing that the paternity of the child was not disputed in the present case, the judge said in such circumstances, a father could not be allowed to shy away from accepting the liability of maintaining his minor children who would not be in a position to take care of themselves until they attain majority.

“Since the child in the present case is a female, as a dutiful father, he is liable to maintain her till her marriage. Further, considering the cost of living prevailing as on date, this court feels that the award of ₹8,000 passed by the learned Magistrate to the second respondent/minor child is not an unreasonable amount,” the judge added.

Dismissing another similar revision petition filed by a different individual, the judge confirmed an order passed by a Family Court in Coimbatore on August 23, 2017, directing a landlord to pay ₹30,000 a month for the maintenance of his physically challenged daughter residing along with his estranged wife.

“Considering the cost of living and the day to day increase in price index, the quantum fixed by the learned Magistrate is reasonable. The quantum of maintenance is certainly required for the medical expenses. Therefore, this court does not find any perversity or illegality to interfere with the maintenance,” the judge said.

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