Minor Child Allowed to Claim Alimony for Education by Father, Not Bound by Divorce Agreement: Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court observed that a minor child is entitled to claim maintenance for his upbringing by the father and such a child is not bound by the divorce settlement regarding maintenance between his parents.

Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh dealt with an appeal filed by a minor child aggrieved by the granting of interim maintenance by the family court at Rs. 15,000 per month.

The High Court made an order dated April 22, 2021 to top up the said child support amount and order the father to pay Rs. 25,000 per month to the minor as his school fees themselves fell within this range .

Observing that when the mother of the minor child obtained a divorce by mutual consent, the alimony was fixed for the child at Rs. 5,000 per month, the Court said:

“It goes without saying that the appellant, being a minor, is not bound by this settlement and that he is entitled to claim alimony for himself for his upbringing to the respondent, that is, – tell his father.

The appellant had argued that the father had failed to truly and properly disclose his income and that, based on his income tax returns (ITRs) filed with the Court, it appeared that apart from farming income which was the only income which the father claimed to have earned, he derived rental income from a property, which was separate from farming income.

The attorney representing the minor child had vehemently disputed the claims in the affidavit filed by the father, claiming that he had deliberately misrepresented the facts in court.

“Considering the fact that the present appeal is directed against the fixing of interim maintenance at the rate of Rs. 15,000/- per month, which we have increased to Rs. 25,000/- per month, and the petition of the appellant is still awaiting consideration in learned family court, we are inclined to relegate the parties to learned family court to establish their respective claims/defense in learned family court, and seek the final order of the learned family court, said the Court.

The Court therefore ruled on the appeal by ordering the respondent father to continue paying Rs. 25,000 per month to the minor child until disposition of the petition preferred by the child, or until further orders that the family court can adopt.

“The appellant’s right to seek further improvement, even at the interim stage, is preserved. No adjournment will be requested by the parties, and neither party should be granted an unjustified adjournment by the learned family court , and we request the learned Family Court to adjudicate the petition pending before it under Section 20 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act 1956 within the coming year,” added the Court.

The Court declared that all rights and claims of the parties, including those raised in the appeal, were preserved and should be considered by the family court.

Title: FATEH SAHARAN c. ROHIT SAHARAN

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Deleted) 102

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