Court to see if mother can forfeit minor's right to maintenance from father

Judgement

A magisterial court has been asked by a sessions court to examine afresh if a girl can seek maintenance from her father after his divorce from her mother with the condition that she would not claim any sustenance from him in future.

Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Kaveri Baweja gave the order on an appeal by the man against the magisterial court's order to him to pay Rs 2,000 a month to his physically challenged daughter from his first marriage.

The man had challenged the magistrate's order claiming that at the time of divorce, he had an agreement with his former wife that she would not claim any maintenance from him, either for herself or for her daughter.

Refusing to pay the maintenance, the man said he was a DTC bus driver earning Rs 14,000 per month and he has to support his second wife and children.

He added the girl's mother was a nurse in a government hospital here and was earning over Rs 31,000 per month and she has no other responsibility except to maintain the girl.

The ASJ, however, said till the matter is heard afresh by the trial court and the orders are passed again on the interim maintenance, the man should continue paying Rs 2,000 per month to the girl.

"The question as to whether the respondent (girl) could have exercised her independent right in claiming maintenance from her father upon attaining the age of majority is a question, which has been left open and undecided in the impugned order (of trial court)," the sessions court said.

The ASJ added, "Thus, having regard to the aforesaid, I find that since this question goes to the very root of the matter and directly affects the very maintainability of the petition, I deem it appropriate to direct the trial court to rehear the parties on the application of grant of interim maintenance and to decide the issue of maintenance in the light of the aforesaid facts and circumstances."

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