The Delhi High Court in its order dated January 14, 2022 has observed that a minor child is entitled to claim maintenance for his upbringing by the father and that such a child is not bound by the divorce settlement regarding maintenance between his parents.
Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh were dealing with an appeal filed by a minor child being aggrieved by the grant of interim maintenance by the Family Court at Rs. 15,000 per month.
Parents of the minor child have got divorced by mutual consent.
The appellant (minor child) had contended that the father had not truly and correctly disclosed his income and that from his Income Tax Returns (ITRs) filed before the Court, it appeared that apart from agricultural income which was the only income claimed to have been earned by the father, he had been deriving rental income from a property, which was separate from the agricultural income.
The counsel appearing for the minor child had vehemently challenged the averments made in the affidavit filed by the father thereby claiming that he had deliberately mis-stated facts before the Court.
The High Court had vide order dated April 22, 2021 enhanced the said maintenance amount and directed the father to pay Rs 25,000 per month to the minor, considering that his school fee itself was in that range.
Delhi High Court
Observing that when the mother of the minor child obtained divorce by mutual consent, the maintenance was fixed in respect of 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 that settlement, and he is entitled to claim maintenance for himself for his upbringing from the respondent i.e., his father.
Considering the fact that the present appeal is directed against the fixation of the interim maintenance at the rate of Rs. 15,000/- per month, which we have raised to Rs. 25,000/- per month, and the appellant’s petition is still pending consideration before the learned Family Court, we are inclined to relegate the parties to the learned Family Court to establish their respective claims/ defence before the learned Family Court, and to invite the final order from the learned Family Court.
The Court therefore disposed of the appeal with a direction to the respondent father to continue to pay Rs 25,000 per month to the minor child till the disposal of the petition preferred by the child, or till further orders that the Family Court may pass. The court added,
The right of the appellant to seek further enhancement, even at the interim stage, is preserved. No adjournments shall be sought by the parties, nor should either of the parties be granted any undue adjournments by the learned Family Court, and we request the learned Family Court to dispose of the petition pending before it under Section 20 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 within the next one year.
The Court said that all rights and contentions of the parties, including those raised in the appeal, were preserved and shall be examined by the Family Court.
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