Kerala HC: Father Liable to Pay Marriage Expenses of Daughter

January 13, 2018

Ambika v. K. Aravindakshan

Date of Judgment: December 19, 2017

In the instant case the issue that arose before the Court was whether a father is legally liable to meet the marriage expenses of his daughter’s wedding? The Kerala High Court in the case has decided in the affirmative to hold that in the case of an unmarried daughter, ‘maintenance’ includes the reasonable expenses of and incident to her marriage.

Brief Facts of the case: The instant appeal has been filed by the petitioner against her Father claiming an amount of Rs.5, 00,000/- from the respondent to meet the expenses of her marriage. The respondent in the case however filed counter statement denying marital relationship with the mother of the petitioner. He also denied the paternity of the petitioner and also his liability to meet the expenses of her marriage.

The Family Court in the case found that the appellant was receiving rent from two buildings owned by her and thereby has got sufficient income to meet the expenses of her marriage and therefore dismissed the petition.

Aggrieved by this the appellant approached the Kerala High Court, wherein the Appellant contended that the lower court went wrong in coming to the conclusions that the petitioner is a person who earns money and that she is not entitled to claim the expenses of her marriage from the respondent.

  • Provisions under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act- The Kerala High Court made reference to the provisions of Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act. Section 20(1) of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act’) provides that a Hindu is bound, during his or her lifetime, to maintain his or her legitimate or illegitimate children and his or her aged or infirm parents. Further Section 20(1) of the Act provides that a legitimate or illegitimate child may claim maintenance from his or her father or mother so long as the child is a minor. Section 20(3) of the Act states that the obligation of a person to maintain his or her aged or infirm parent or daughter who is unmarried extends so long as the parent or the unmarried daughter, as the case may be, is unable to maintain himself or herself out of his or her own earnings or other property.
  • That it was immaterial whether there was any valid marriage between the respondent and the mother of the petitioner. As per Sections 20(1) and 20(2) of the Act, the father has obligation to maintain his daughter, whether legitimate or illegitimate.
  • That Section 20(1) of the Act enjoins upon a Hindu to maintain his or her legitimate or illegitimate children. Section 20(3) of the Act narrows down the legal obligation to maintain an unmarried daughter in so far as she is unable to maintain herself from her own earnings or property.
  • That right of a minor girl for maintenance from parents after attaining majority till her marriage is recognized in Section 20(3) of the Act[1]. As per Section 3(b) (ii) of the Act, in the case of an unmarried daughter, ‘maintenance’ includes the reasonable expenses of and incident to her marriage.
  • That there is a duty cast on the father to maintain the minor daughter till her marriage and to meet her marriage expenses.

In view of the aforesaid prevalent law and facts of the case, the High Court allowed the appeal and directed the respondent father to pay an amount of Rs.2,00,000/- to the petitioner towards the expenses incurred by her for her marriage.

The case can be accessed here.

[1] Jagdish Jugtawat v. Manju Lata: (2002) 5 SCC 422

About the Author

Shilpi Sharan

- Shilpi Sharan is the Editor at Vakilno1.com - an Advocate with extensive knowledge in myriad fields of Law. She has a flair of writing and has legal publications in national and international law magazines to her credit. She focuses on legal research and aims at raising public awareness of laws in India.