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maintenance

A child has an undisputed right to be maintained by his father till he attains majority: Supreme Court of India

The respondent-husband cannot be absolved from his liability and responsibility to maintain his son Pranav till he attains the age of majority. Whatever be the dispute between the husband and the wife, a child should not be made to suffer. Such an observation was made by the Hon’ble Supreme Court before Hon’ble Justice M.R. Shah & Hon’ble Justice A.S. Bopanna in the matter of Neha Tyagi vs Lieutenant Colonel Deepak Tyagi [CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6374 OF 2021] on 01.12.2021.

The facts of the case were that the petitioner and the respondent got married on 16.11.2005, out of wedlock a son Pranav Tyagi was born on 23.2.2008. Thereafter, some disputes arose between the appellate and the respondent, and the appellate filed several complaints including extra-marital affairs against the respondent before his employer- Army Authorities in which he was exonerated by the competent authorities. Subsequently, the respondent-husband applied before the Family Court for Divorce and dissolution of marriage on the ground of cruelty and desertion by the appellant-wife. The same was granted by the Family Court and upheld by the High Court. Thus, the respondent-husband stopped paying maintenance to the appellate-wife. Thus, the instant appeal is preferred by the appellate-wife on the contention that she has no source of income and therefore it is the liability of the respondent-husband to pay her allowances to help her maintain herself and their son.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that “The liability and responsibility of the father to maintain the child continues till the child/son attains the age of majority. It also cannot be disputed that the son Pranav has a right to be maintained as per the status of his father. It is reported that the mother is not earning anything. She is residing at her parental house in Jaipur. Therefore, a reasonable/sufficient amount is required for the maintenance of her son including his education, etc. which shall have to be paid by the respondent-husband, irrespective of the decree of dissolution of the marriage between the appellant-wife and the respondent-husband. The amount which was being paid pursuant to the order passed by the Army Authorities on 15.11.2012 has also been stopped by the respondent-husband since December 2019.

Finally, the Hon’ble Supreme Court disposed of the appeal with a direction to the respondent-husband/father to pay maintenance of Rs 50,000/- per month with effect from December 2019 to the appellant-wife towards the maintenance of son Pranav as per the status of the respondent herein. The arrears @ Rs. 50,000/- per month from December 2019 to November 2021 shall be paid within a period of eight weeks from today. The current maintenance @ Rs. 50,000/- per month from the month of December 2021 onwards be deducted from the salary of the respondent-husband by the Army Authorities, which shall be directly credited in the bank account of the appellant-mother.

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Judgment Reviewed by: Rohan Kumar Thakur

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