A sessions court has said that the right to maintenance is the absolute right of a daughter who is a minor and she is entitled to it. It said this on an appeal filed by an 11-year-old girl’s father against the order of a Kurla magistrate court directing him to pay monthly maintenance for the child.
The child’s parents had divorced. The child had approached the Kurla magistrate court through her maternal grandfather and claimed maintenance. She had told the court that both her mother and father had gone their separate ways and she was living with her maternal grandfather, who was not in a position to provide for her. The Kurla magistrate had ordered the father to pay a monthly maintenance of Rs 5,000 and Rs 2,000 for her accommodation, apart from Rs 50,000 as compensation to the child. The father had approached the sessions court against the order.
He had contended that his wife and he had entered into consent terms in a mutual divorce case and she had accepted a lump sum amount of Rs 1.5 lakh from him as permanent alimony for herself and their daughter and relinquished their right to maintenance. He said that, thus, he was not responsible for paying maintenance to the child.
Additional Sessions Judge R M Sadrani said in his order that the right of maintenance was the absolute right of the daughter and she was entitled to it, at least till the time she is a minor. The court further said that the lump sum payment was only for five years if the parties had agreed to it and maintenance was for a lifetime and that the right of the minor daughter to claim maintenance was intact. “To maintain a minor daughter is the prime duty of every father and this is public policy,” the court said. Judge Sadrani added that there was no provision in law to grant one-time maintenance and relinquish the right to future maintenance, especially when the right of a minor was involved.