Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956

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Section 20(1)

Earning daughter can ask father to pay for marriage: Kerala HC

Mahir Haneef, January 9, 2018: The Times of India

A Hindu unmarried daughter has the right to obtain expenses for her intended marriage from her father even if the daughter and her mother have other income, the Kerala High Court has held. Even illegitimate children have such right, the court held.

The ruling by a division bench of the court was after considering an appeal (Mat. Appeal No. 1234/2015) filed by Ambika Aravindakshan of Coimbatore. She had challenged Palakkad family court's decision that she is not entitled to marriage expenses from her father, K Aravindakshan of Akathethara in Palakkad, as she and her mother are getting rental income of Rs12,000. She had sought Rs5 lakhs.

While allowing the appeal, the high court said even if the daughter or her mother were getting rental income of Rs12,000, it was not a sufficient ground to reject the claim in toto. A person does not live by bread alone and there are other basic necessities in life, the court said citing a 1987 decision of the high court (Karunakaran Nair vs. V Suseela Amma).

"One can just imagine what amount the petitioner or her mother could have saved after meeting the day to day expenses. The respondent (father) has got no case that the petitioner or her mother is employed or that they have got any other source of income. In these circumstances, we have no hesitation to find that the order of the lower court rejecting the claim of the petitioner in toto is erroneous," the division bench said in the judgment.

Even in a case where the mother has some income and is looking after her daughter, an unmarried daughter is entitled to claim maintenance from her father, which also includes educational and marriage expenses, the judgment stated.

As per the judgment, the liability of the father arises from section 20(1) of Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956. A Hindu is bound to maintain his or her legitimate or illegitimate children and his or her aged or infirm parents, according to section 20. The right to claim marriage expenses arises from section 3(b)(ii), which includes the reasonable expenses of and incident to a daughter's marriage.

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