Madurai

Major children entitled to maintenance: HC

In a significant ruling, the Madras High Court Bench here has held that fathers are liable to pay maintenance to children who had attained majority even if the latter were not suffering from any mental or physical abnormalities and yet do not have sufficient financial capacity to maintain themselves.

“No doubt, Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is not happily worded since it has prescribed certain riders for a daughter or son who has attained majority to claim maintenance from their father. The children must establish that they are under physical disability or they are suffering out of mental injury.

“However, there may be cases where a daughter or a son, even after having attained majority, may not have sufficient financial capacity to maintain themselves and they continue to need the support of their father... These are real-life situations. In such cases, courts cannot simply blame those who had drafted the law.

“A court must interpret the law. It should advance the cause of justice. That will be the march of law,” Justice P. Devadass said while reversing an order passed by a Sessions Judge who had set aside maintenance awarded by a magistrate to a major girl besides striking down Rs. 2,000 a month granted towards educational expenses of a minor girl.

The Sessions Judge had held that educational expenses could not be awarded under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C., but disagreeing with him, the High Court said: “The learned judge preferred literal interpretation than purposeful interpretation. He read Section 125, couched in English, by referring to the dictionary but he did not look into the heart of the matter.

“Education is an important aspect in children’s life... No father is expected to bring up a criminal or a disorderly person. Section 125 is not just for food for life, it should also be for food for thought. Otherwise, so far as children are concerned, we will be doing violence to the very object of Section 125.”

Further, pointing out that the law relating to maintenance had been included in a criminal statute only to ensure quick remedy to wives, parents and children, the High Court said: “Maintenance cases have to be disposed of in a summary manner. But, in practice, it is observed much in breach than adherence.

“These simple maintenance cases are being tried in the Magistrate courts and Family courts like most complicated civil suits, civil appeals and serious murder cases. In the end, these modern era courts have thrown to winds the very purpose for which Section 125 has been introduced in the Code.”

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 9:09:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/Major-children-entitled-to-maintenance-HC/article14485660.ece

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