Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code speaks of Right to Maintenance of Wives, Children and Parents. For long, Section 125 has been utilised to seek maintenance rights by wives and parents. However, on an appeal filed by an adult unmarried daughter against her father claiming maintenance, the Bombay High Court upheld daughter’s claim, which was filed by the mother on behalf of her daughter. The Petitioner had filed the Criminal Appeal seeking to set aside the order of the passed by the Principal Judge Family Court Mumbai rejecting the claim to seek maintenance for the daughter.

The Petitioner had filed a petition before the Family Court, Bandra seeking for maintenance for her daughter and two sons which were for their educational and daily expenses. The Husband/Respondent had apparently deserted her and her children and was living an adulterous life as stated by the Petitioner. After filing of consent terms regarding maintenance, the Petitioner again approached the Family Court for hiking the maintenance amount as the education fees of her children were beyond her financial capacity. The said application for enhancement of maintenance also sought for interim maintenance, which was rejected as she was a working professional.

The Hon’ble Justice Smt .Bharathi H.Dangre, who presided over this appeal, overturned the impugned order of the Family Court and affirmed that though the daughter attained majority, she was held entitled to claim maintenance from her father as the family (personal) law make her entitled to claim maintenance from her parents till she attains majority, as per the decisions passed in Noor Saba Kahtoon v Mohd. Quasim and that of the Bombay High Court in Vijaykumar Jagdishrai Chawla v Reeta Vijaykumar Chawla. As regards to the issue of whether a mother is competent to file proceedings claiming maintenance on behalf of her major daughter, the Hon’ble Court orated as follows:

“Even if the daughter would have filed the proceedings, the parameters for deciding her entitlement would have been the neglect and refusal of the father to pay for the educational expenses and other expenses of the daughter. The daughter can be a competent person to file her own application claiming maintenance. However, in order to avoid multiplicity of the proceeding, no fault can be found in the application preferred by the mother claiming maintenance with a view to meet the expenses of the daughter, since wife has not claimed maintenance for herself and she has not denied the factum of her employment. In such circumstances, it appears that the stand taken by the respondent is a hyper technical plea and the respondent cannot be absolved of his liability to meet the necessary expenses of his major unmarried daughter who is persuading her education and she needs cannot be met by the petitioner wife who has her limited source of earning.”

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Judgment- Agnes Lily Irudaya Versus Irudaya Kani Arsan