Guwahati: An unmarried Hindu daughter can now claim maintenance from her father until she is married. The Supreme Court of India has held that the daughter can claim the same, provided she proves that she is unable to look after herself.
The SC bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan held that the basis of her claim has to be Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoptions & Maintenance Act, 1956. To avail the maintenance from her father, the daughter has to plead and prove the above mentioned under Section 20 of the Act, which casts a statutory obligation on a Hindu man to maintain his daughter who is unmarried and unable to maintain herself out of her own earnings or other property.
The Bench, which also comprised Justices R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah added that the legislature never contemplated burdening the Magistrate while exercising jurisdiction under Section 125 Cr.P.C to determine the claims contemplated by Hindu Adoptions & Maintenance Act, 1956.
In the instant case of Abhilasha v Parkash & Others, the appellant had filed an application under Section 125 Cr.P.C when she was a minor before Judicial Magistrate First Class, Rewari. The Magistrate had disposed of the application limiting the claim of the appellant to claim maintenance till she attains the majority and this order was upheld by the High Court as well.
The Apex Court considered the issue if a Hindu unmarried daughter is entitled to claim maintenance from her father under Section 125 Cr.P.C only till she attains majority or she can claim maintenance till she remains unmarried? In this case, the contention of the appellant was that she is entitled to claim the same from her father by virtue of Section 20 of Act, 1956, even if she is not suffering from any physical or mental abnormality or injury.
The SC dismissed the appeal and gave liberty to the appellant to take recourse to Section 20(3) of the Act, if so advised, for claiming any maintenance, against her father.