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Even an unemployed Father is under personal obligation to maintain child, shapes the position of child in society : Karnataka High Court


Karnataka HC, the Bench of Justice Jyothi Mulimani while deciding the maintenance of a minor child in a broken marriage, said that a father is under a personal obligation to maintain his minor child. 

“It is needless to observe that a father is under a personal obligation to maintain his minor child. Hence, factors like unemployment, earning a meager income can’t be an excuse for not maintaining wife and children. He cannot shirk his responsibility from maintaining the family, in particular, his minor son under the garb of doing a coolie job”, in the order.

The Case

The petitioner (father) and his wife obtained a decree of divorce in year 2011. The child was under the care and custody of the mother. The minor filed a petition seeking maintenance under Section 125 of Cr.P.C through his guardian mother.

The mother in her statement said that, the father is working as a clerk and also running a shop, while the father said that, he is doing a coolie (labour) job, which was agreed with  his wife in the divorce proceedings. The father further submitted that, it was agreed in the divorce agreement with his wife that she will not claim maintenance for herself and the child.

The Bench

“It’s no secret that being a parent is one of the most challenging roles in the world. The relationship between a parent and their child is a unique bond that nurtures the holistic growth and development of a child. It lays the foundation for their behavior, personality, traits and values.”

The bench further said that,

“Strengthening the parent-child relationships requires work, mutual understanding and efforts. Parenting is a tough job, but by maintaining a close relationship and open communication with your children, parents can stay connected to them during all stages of life”.

It added that,

“A Hindu is under a legal obligation to maintain his wife, his minor sons, his unmarried daughters and his aged parents, whether he possess any property or not. The obligation to maintain these relations is personal, legal and absolute in character and arises from the very existence of the relationship between the parties”.

The bench said that, “high court may exercise its power only in exceptional cases. In the present case, the petitioner has failed to prove that, “the discretion of the Judge had been wrongly exercised”.

In the last resort, the learned advocate for the petitioner Sri.K. Prasanna Shetty, submitted that the child has reached to the age of majority. On this bench said that, his support would have lead to child’s better position in the society. 

“Had the father agreed to the amount as ordered by the Family Court, his own son would have used the said amount for his own education and had come up in his life holding a better position in the society.”

It also said that, “It would have also resulted in re-establishment of relationship between father and son”.

The bench finds no ground to interfere with the family court order and directed the father to pay the maintenance to his son as ordered by the family court.

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