Sunday, 3 February 2019

Whether daughters can claim exorbitant amount from their father towards marriage and educational expenses?

The first petitioner had claimed marriage expenses.
She claimed `15 lakhs on that count. Evidence adduced in the
case would indicate that she married a person of her own choice
and it was a registered marriage. Expenses for marriage can be
claimed only in instances where any expense has been incurred
for the marriage. Of course, even before marriage, a claim can be
made taking into account the probable marriage expenditure. The
expenditure to be incurred for such marriages depends upon the
facts and circumstance of each case. At any rate, exorbitant
amounts cannot be claimed towards marriage expenses.
Marriages can be conducted in a simple form and one can even
conduct a luxurious marriage. But while claiming marriage
expenses, one can expect only the minimum amount required for
conducting a simple marriage function. We are of the view that

the amount claimed was unreasonable. That apart, while
conducting a registered marriage, it is clear that the first
petitioner should not have incurred any major expenditure as she
had married a person of her own choice. Under such
circumstances, the Family Court was justified in rejecting the said
claim.
9. Second petitioner claimed `20,000/- per month for
educational expenses and `7,50,000/- for her studies. The claim
was later amended claiming `10,46,200/- as educational
expenses. The Family Court found that the second respondent is
also a person who is having sufficient source of income and she is
more financially affluent than the 1st respondent. She too have
the liability to meet the expenses of the petitioners. The present
claim is made alleging that she has joined a course for which
huge amounts are required. The first respondent took up a
contention that he had no capacity to expend such a huge
amount. He produced Ext.B3 salary certificate to prove that his
income was 1,500 UAE Dirhams. Though the petitioners
contended that the 1st respondent is a millionaire, no such
material had been produced to prove the said fact. Therefore,

taking into account the income of the 1st respondent, the Family
Court rejected the claim for payment of such huge amount
towards educational expenses and also on a finding that the
mother has sufficient wealth.
10. It is also curious to note that the 2nd respondent did
not enter the box. First respondent has a specific case that the 2nd
respondent has sufficient income. In so far as she did not enter
the box to explain why such a huge claim is being made and that
she is not in a position to expend such amount, Family Court was
justified in rejecting the said claims. Even if educational
expenditure are to be met, only reasonable amounts can be
sought. If a person decides to go abroad and continue his/her
studies, is it that the parents should be mulcted with such a huge
liability? The award of maintenance shall be in accordance with
the financial and social status of the persons involved. The
income derived by the parent is of primary importance. It is
curious to note that the 2nd respondent did not file any objection
which clearly indicates that she is supporting the claim. If the
mother is also an earning member, the liability to maintain the
children rests with both the parties. What would be the quantum

of maintenance always depends upon the facts and
circumstances arising in the case. 

IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM
PRESENT
 MR.JUSTICE A.M.SHAFFIQUE
&
 MR. JUSTICE A.M.BABU
THURSDAY ,THE 24TH DAY OF JANUARY 2019
Mat.Appeal.No. 322 of 2010

 BIBITHA FELIX,  Vs   FELIX MIRANDA,

Shaffique, J.

The appeal has been filed by the daughters of the
respondents challenging judgment dated 31/3/2010 in OP
No.245/2008 of the Family Court, Thiruvananthapuram. The
appellants filed the Original Petition seeking past and future
maintenance, educational expenses for the 2nd petitioner and
marriage expenses for the first petitioner and for other incidental
reliefs. The Family Court partly decreed the petition directing the
1st respondent to pay maintenance to the 2nd petitioner at the
rate of `5,000/- per month from 3/3/2008 until she obtains
employment or any other independent source of income or till
she gets married, whichever is earlier. Other claims made by the
petitioners were dismissed.
2. The short facts of the case are as under.
Petitioners/appellants are the daughters of the first and second
respondent. The marriage between the respondents were
dissolved by mutual consent as per order in OP No.823/2006.
According to the petitioners, after divorce, 1st respondent
contracted a second marriage and thereafter he did not care to

maintain the petitioners. He is a person having financial capacity
to meet their expenditure and accordingly 1st petitioner sought
for recovery of `15 lakhs towards the marriage expenses and the
2nd petitioner sought for `20,000/- per month as educational
expenses including hostel expenses. 2nd petitioner contended
that she is undergoing a course in Bio Technology at Indian
Academy. She had completed 3rd semester. She has 3 more
semesters to complete. The total amount to be spent for
completing the said course will come to `7,50,000/-, which the 1st
respondent is liable to pay. It is contended that the first
respondent who is employed abroad draws a salary of more than
`2 lakhs per month. They also sought for past maintenance from
September, 2006 onwards. The OP was later amended claiming
further amounts regarding the expenditure for completing the
studies.
3. The 1st respondent inter alia contended that the OP
has been filed in collusion with the 2nd respondent. He however
submitted that he has got the obligation to maintain his children
with his financial capacity. He denied having contracted a second
marriage. He denied having drawn a salary of `2 lakhs. According

to him, he was only getting 1,500 UAE Dirhams per month as
salary. He further submitted that he had purchased several
sovereigns of gold ornaments for his wife from the savings and all
his money which had been sent to her had been appropriated.
That apart, after the birth of the third child, the 2nd respondent
continued her studies and had obtained a Doctorate in Sidha
Medicine. She started a clinic at Sasthamangalam and is having a
private business. She is a super-tax payee and has immense
resource. He further submitted that he was without job for five
years. With the money sent by him, 2nd respondent had
purchased 15 cents of land and he had constructed a building in
the property. The rent of the building is being collected by the 2nd
respondent. He only has one half right over the said property. He
does not have any place to stay. Further, he contended that he is
left with no assets. However, he has spent an amount of
`2,39,000/- for the education of 2nd petitioner. She was also given
40 sovereigns of gold ornaments. With regard to marriage of the
first petitioner, he submitted that he was not informed about the
marriage. He had come to know about the marriage later. It was
not a ceremonial marriage as the first petitioner chose her own

partner and registered the marriage before the Sub Registrar
office. The marriage expenses will be less than `1,000/-. He was
also not informed about the studies undertaken by the 2nd
petitioner. The 1st respondent is completing 60 years of age on
2/3/2010. With his limited income, he is unable to cop with his
own life and therefore he sought for dismissal of the petition.
4. Before the Family Court, petitioners were examined as
PW1 and PW2 and respondent was examined as CPW1. Exts.A1 to
A18 were relied upon by the petitioners and Exts.B1 to B5 (b)
were relied on by the respondents.
5. The Family Court after considering the evidence
rejected the claims except the direction to grant maintenance to
the second petitioner. Learned counsel for the appellants while
impugning the aforesaid judgment submits that the 1st
respondent is liable to meet all the expenditure of the petitioners
including their marriage and their studies which is settled by a
long line of judgments.
6. There is no dispute about the fact that a Christian
father has the obligation to maintain his daughters who are not
capable of looking after themselves and his obligation continues

even after obtaining the majority. There is no reason for us to
highlight the principles on the point. However, the only question
to be considered is to what extent the maintenance can be
awarded. As far as the law relating to the award of maintenance
under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 is
concerned, it is a settled law that in the case of an unmarried
daughter, the maintenance includes expenses of and incidents to
a marriage. In Gladstone v. Geetha Gladstone (ILR 2002 (3)
Kerala 113=2002 KHC 686), while considering a case filed u/s 125
of Cr.P.C by a christian lady and a child, it was held that while
fixing the quantum of maintenance, the Court shall take into
account the income, the earning capacity, property and other
financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has
or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, the standard of living
enjoyed by the parties to the marriage and conduct of the
parties.
7. Therefore, there cannot be any issue regarding the
obligation to maintain. What should be the extent to which it can
be granted is the question. There cannot be any dispute
regarding the fact that unmarried daughters have to be

maintained either until their marriage or until they get
employment or they are in a position to look after themselves,
whichever is earlier, which apparently is a question of fact to be
decided on the facts and circumstances of each case. In the
matter relating to a claim for marriage expenses against a Muslim
father, in Ismayil v. Fathima and another (2011 (4 KLT 40), a
Division Bench of this Court held that the maintenance under the
different Personal Laws should be given uniform meaning and
interpretation and therefore a Muslim father is liable under his
Personal Law to pay maintenance to his unmarried daughter
including the obligation to meet the marriage expenses.
Paragraphs 15, 28 and 30 are relevant which reads as under:-
“15. Law cannot be far removed from life and
therefore it will be necessary to understand the
right/obligation to maintain a daughter in the light of
the existing situation in the Indian society. We may
hasten to observe that we are only trying to find out
whether expenses relating to marriage are necessary
expenses for the mental and physical well being of the
claimant/unmarried daughter. In the present level of
emancipation of the Indian woman it is impossible to
accept that an unmarried daughter can fend for
herself and enter into matrimony without the support
and patronage of her father/parent. Even if she is able
to choose a bridegroom for herself, it is common

knowledge that marriage expenses are met by the
father. All fathers to whichsoever religious
denomination he may belong, does certainly perceive
the responsibility in the Indian society of the present
day to give his daughter in marriage when she attains
the age of marriage. What we intend to note is that
consistent with the mandate of Art.21 of the
Constitution as accepted by the Full Bench in Mathew
Varghese (supra), maintenance is the right of the
child. Such maintenance does and must include all
expenses for the mental and physical well being of the
child and so far as the unmarried daughter is
concerned her marriage is also something essential
and necessary for the mental and physical well being
of the child. Therefore, we feel that the right to
marriage expenses can certainly be included in the
concept of maintenance which a father is liable to
provide for his unmarried daughter. We do promptly
note that the entitlement is only for reasonable
amount and is available to only an unmarried
daughter who does not have means of her own to
meet the marriage expenses. Such right is only
against the father who has the requisite means.”
“28. We are of the opinion that the above
stipulations in the Personal Law, though they do not
afford direct assistance to us on this controversy, can
also be relied on to reach the conclusion that the
Muslim father has the indisputable obligation to
maintain his unmarried daughter. We find it safe to
proceed to further hold that he has the obligation to
ensure that the unmarried daughter under his charge
is given away in marriage properly. He hence has, we

hold, the legal obligation to meet the reasonable
marriage expenses of his daughter, as part of his
obligation to pay maintenance to her.”
“30 The above discussions lead us to the conclusion
that the right/obligation to maintain the unmarried
daughter includes the right/obligation to meet the
marriage expenses of the unmarried daughters. This
is so for all fathers - be they Hindus, Muslims,
Christians or others. We adopt the following process of
reasoning to reach that conclusion. They all have the
duty under their personal law to maintain their
children. Even ignoring the personal law, as declared
in Mathew Varghese (supra), such a right/duty can be
spelt out from Article 21 of the Constitution. Duty to
maintain is not limited to provide for food, raiment
and lodging. It includes the duty of the obligee to do
all acts for the physical, mental and moral well being
of the child. That duty has to be understood in the
context of the Indian society in the modern
constitutional republic. The concept has to be
understood identically for persons belonging to all
religious faiths in the secular polity. Where the
interpretor has elbow room, he must invoke the power
of interpretation as a functionary of the State
consistent with the mandate of Article 44 of the
Constitution. The interpretor need not wait for the
Parliament to enact a uniform civil code. Till that is
done by the Parliament, the interpretor as a
functionary of the State must draw inspiration from
Article 44 of the Constitution in performing the
duty/power of interpretation. So reckoned the duty to
maintain the unmarried daughters under the personal

law must in the present day Indian context include the
obligation to meet the marriage expenses of the
unmarried daughters. For all members of the Indian
polity, this has to apply. The Muslim father also, we
hence hold, has the obligation to pay/meet the
marriage expenses of his unmarried daughter. We
must hasten to observe that the right/duty is only to
meet the reasonable expenses, that too only when the
daughter is dependent on the father. “
8. The first petitioner had claimed marriage expenses.
She claimed `15 lakhs on that count. Evidence adduced in the
case would indicate that she married a person of her own choice
and it was a registered marriage. Expenses for marriage can be
claimed only in instances where any expense has been incurred
for the marriage. Of course, even before marriage, a claim can be
made taking into account the probable marriage expenditure. The
expenditure to be incurred for such marriages depends upon the
facts and circumstance of each case. At any rate, exorbitant
amounts cannot be claimed towards marriage expenses.
Marriages can be conducted in a simple form and one can even
conduct a luxurious marriage. But while claiming marriage
expenses, one can expect only the minimum amount required for
conducting a simple marriage function. We are of the view that

the amount claimed was unreasonable. That apart, while
conducting a registered marriage, it is clear that the first
petitioner should not have incurred any major expenditure as she
had married a person of her own choice. Under such
circumstances, the Family Court was justified in rejecting the said
claim.
9. Second petitioner claimed `20,000/- per month for
educational expenses and `7,50,000/- for her studies. The claim
was later amended claiming `10,46,200/- as educational
expenses. The Family Court found that the second respondent is
also a person who is having sufficient source of income and she is
more financially affluent than the 1st respondent. She too have
the liability to meet the expenses of the petitioners. The present
claim is made alleging that she has joined a course for which
huge amounts are required. The first respondent took up a
contention that he had no capacity to expend such a huge
amount. He produced Ext.B3 salary certificate to prove that his
income was 1,500 UAE Dirhams. Though the petitioners
contended that the 1st respondent is a millionaire, no such
material had been produced to prove the said fact. Therefore,

taking into account the income of the 1st respondent, the Family
Court rejected the claim for payment of such huge amount
towards educational expenses and also on a finding that the
mother has sufficient wealth.
10. It is also curious to note that the 2nd respondent did
not enter the box. First respondent has a specific case that the 2nd
respondent has sufficient income. In so far as she did not enter
the box to explain why such a huge claim is being made and that
she is not in a position to expend such amount, Family Court was
justified in rejecting the said claims. Even if educational
expenditure are to be met, only reasonable amounts can be
sought. If a person decides to go abroad and continue his/her
studies, is it that the parents should be mulcted with such a huge
liability? The award of maintenance shall be in accordance with
the financial and social status of the persons involved. The
income derived by the parent is of primary importance. It is
curious to note that the 2nd respondent did not file any objection
which clearly indicates that she is supporting the claim. If the
mother is also an earning member, the liability to maintain the
children rests with both the parties. What would be the quantum

of maintenance always depends upon the facts and
circumstances arising in the case. The 2nd petitioner claimed
`20,000/- per month and the Family Court allowed `5,000/- taking
into account the income of the 1st respondent and other factual
circumstances arising in the case. We do not think that any error
had been committed by the Family Court in awarding the
maintenance at the said rate and rejecting the other claims. The
claims were exorbitant and not in consonance with the scheme of
things and there is no evidence to prove that the first respondent
had the financial capacity to pay such huge amounts.
Appeal is dismissed. No costs.
Sd/-
A.M.SHAFFIQUE
JUDGE
Sd/-
A.M.BABU

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