The High Court of Delhi in the case of Poonam Sethi v/s Sanjay Sethi ruled that it is the Duty of the father to maintain his daughters and take care of their education, marriage even if they are earning income.
The Appellant, Poonam Sethi for the past 9 – 10 years, brought up their 3 children single handedly, including taking care of their food, clothes, education, tuitions, travelling, extracurricular activities, entertainment, sports, medical needs etc. without any contribution from the Respondent Sanjay Sethi.
Owing to the Respondent’s abdication of duties since the year 2010, the Appellant was under extreme financial burden of having to support the 3 children on her own for such a long period. It was the Appellant’s plea that she was entitled to, at least, a commensurate compensation from the father of the 3 children who ought to be responsible towards the needs of children in consonance with the social standing, and income of the Respondent.
Mr. Bhuvan Mishra, counsel for the Appellant argued that the Appellant-wife has been supporting all three children for more than a decade, taking care of all their expenses and needs. He submits that under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 it is the obligation of the husband to maintain his wife and unmarried daughters.
Mr. Narayan counsel for the Respondent has argued that, firstly, the Appellant-wife herein is earning a handsome income as shown by her income affidavits. Secondly, the major unmarried daughters of the parties are earning their own independent incomes, and thus able to maintain themselves. Thirdly, that maintenance does not need to be granted to a major son and, as a result, this appeal should be dismissed.
The division bench of Justice Jasmeet Singh and Justice Vipin Sanghi noted that Each and every individual is entitled to basic resources like food, shelter, clothing, education, medical expenses and other necessities required to live a dignified life. Morally and legally, it is the obligation of both the parents to provide these amenities, according to the status of life being led by them, to their children by way of maintenance.
While disposing of the appeal the court directed that an amount of Rs. 35 lakhs be paid towards marriage expenses of the elder daughter, namely, Sahiba by the respondent. As Sahiba is earning a certain income, she will require a lesser sum than her sister, as she herself would also be in a position to contribute to her wedding expenses. Further, an amount of Rs. 50 lakhs to be paid for the marriage expenses of the younger daughter, namely, Ananya.
“The amount of Rs. 50 lakhs, for the younger daughter Ananya, must be paid within 1 week from the date of this order, and the amounts for the other daughter Sahiba (Rs. 35 lakhs) to be paid within 6 weeks from the date of passing of this order. The said amount shall be kept by Sahiba in a fixed deposit, to be utilized at her wedding,” the court said.