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Mother can seek maintenance for adult unmarried daughter, rules Bombay High Court

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Mumbai: In a significant ruling, the Bombay High Court held adult ‘unmarried’ daughters too can claim maintenance from their father to meet their expenses. The HC further ruled that even a mother can institute proceedings to seek maintenance for her adult daughter.

A single-judge bench of Justice Bharati Dangre delivered the ruling in response to a petition filed by a woman seeking Rs 15, 000 maintenance for her daughter.

The woman – a school teacher by profession sought maintenance on the ground that though she earns Rs 48, 000 per month she is unable to maintain her daughter’s expenses towards education, medical and other purposes. She told the court that her daughter was pursuing engineering course and that she could not afford the academics fees for the course. The woman also highlighted the fact that her two sons (both adults) have not been contributing towards herself.


On the other hand, the woman’s husband refused to pay the maintenance arguing citing section 125 of the Cr. PC which only provides maintenance for minor children and wife. He also argued that if an adult unmarried daughter seek maintenance, it is she who should institute proceedings and not her mother.

Having heard the rival contentions, Justice Dangre referred to the rulings of the Supreme Court and also of the Bombay HC. “A father cannot be extricated from his liability to maintain his unmarried daughter who is staying with his wife and he would be bound not only to maintain his unmarried daughter but also responsible to maintain until her marriage,” Justice Dangre said while referring to the judgements.

“The daughter can be a competent person to file her own application claiming maintenance. However, in order to avoid multiplicity of the proceedings no fault can be found in the application preferred by the mother claiming maintenance with a view to meet the expenses of the daughter,” Justice Dangre ruled.