Father liable to maintain son till he becomes a major, rules SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said a child should not suffer in the dispute between a husband and wife, as it held that it is responsibility of the father to maintain the son till he attains the age of majority.

A bench of Justices M.R. Shah and A.S. Bopanna said: “Whatever be the dispute between the husband and the wife, a child should not be made to suffer. The liability and responsibility of the father to maintain the child continues till the child/son attains the age of majority. It also cannot be disputed that the son has a right to be maintained as per the status of his father.”

The bench noted that the mother of the child is not earning and she is residing at her parental house at Jaipur.

“Therefore, a reasonable/sufficient amount is required for the maintenance of her son including his education etc. which shall have to be paid by the respondent-husband, irrespective of the decree of dissolution of marriage between the appellant-wife and the respondent-husband,” it added.

The apex court, exercising its power under Article 142 of the Constitution, confirmed the divorce decree awarded to the husband and wife by the family court and the high court. It also directed the father to provide Rs 50,000 maintenance per month.

The bench took into consideration the estranged couple has not been staying together since May 2011 and therefore, there is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage between them.

The bench noted since December 2019, the father had stopped paying the amount, which was being paid under the order passed by the Army authorities on November 15, 2012.

“The respondent-husband is directed to pay Rs 50,000 per month with effect from December 2019 to the appellant-wife towards the maintenance of the son as per the status of the respondent herein. The arrears @ Rs 50,000 per month from December 2019 to November 2021 shall be paid within a period of eight weeks from today.”

The marriage between the couple was solemnised on November 16, 2005, and the man was then serving as a Major. The couple’s child is now aged 13 years.

In May 2018, the family court passed a decree for dissolution of the marriage between the husband and wife on the ground of cruelty and desertion by the wife, and it was confirmed by the high court.

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