Gujarat High Court on Friday ruled that a parent is liable to maintain a son till he attains the age of majority and starts earning.
The HC made it clear that a parent is liable to maintain an unmarried daughter even after she attains a majority, and is also liable to spend for her wedding. However, the same provision does not apply for a son.
According to provisions of Section 125 of CrPC, a father or mother is not responsible to pay maintenance to a son once he turns 18 if he is not mentally or physically unfit.
The case in question is a divorce petition involving a doctor, Dinesh Oza, who practices in Visnagar and his wife Nita.
The wife was driven out of her home in 2006 and she lodged an FIR with Satellite police in 2006. On the other hand, the doctor filed a divorce petition in Mehsana. The woman filed for maintenance in Ahmedabad’s family court. The court ordered the doctor to pay his wife and son.
In the second round of litigation, the court enhanced the amount and asked the doctor to continue to pay his son till he turned 18 years. The father stopped payments to his son when he turned 18 in October 2013.
The wife moved the family court against this. The family court asked her to move the HC for clarification on whether the father should continue to pay after the boy turned 18. The court also asked the doctor to deposit arrears of Rs 78,000 with the court.
The woman moved the high court again, where her lawyer argued that the father is liable to maintain his son till he starts earning. The doctor’s lawyer Dakshesh Mehta argued that the law is clear on this aspect that a son must be maintained only till he turns 18.
After hearing the case, Justice JB Pardiwala concluded that he cannot accept the provisions made to maintain daughters for maintenance of a son.
He cited an order passed by Karnataka High Court, which said that it would be a moral and social obligation of every father to bring up his children by giving proper education, culture etc not only as his children, but also as the future citizens of the nation.
But there is no law that mandates a parent to give maintenance to a son once he turns 18. And hence the father can stop paying maintenance amount to the son.
Originally published in the Times Of India