Caste, faith can’t be basis for determining a father’s duty, says Kerala HC

The Kerala High Court has held that the children of an interfaith couple are entitled to be given maintenance by their father. 

Published: 15th December 2021 03:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th December 2021 03:01 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala High Court

Kerala High Court. (File Photo| A Sanesh, EPS)

By Express News Service

KOCHI:  The Kerala High Court has held that the children of an interfaith couple are entitled to be given maintenance by their father. “Caste, faith or religion cannot be the rational basis for determining the parental duty of a father. All children have to be treated alike, irrespective of the faith or religion professed by parents. No doubt the son’s entitlement is until he attains the age of majority and that of daughter is until she gets married,” held the court.

A Division Bench comprising Justice A Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Kauser Edappagath issued the order on the appeal filed by J W Aragadan of Kozhikode challenging the order of the Family Court, Nedumangad. 

The petitioner is a Hindu and his wife a Muslim. Their daughter was brought up as Muslim. The family court had ordered to pay Rs 14,66,860 towards her marriage expenses and Rs 96,000 towards educational expenses.  The petitioner argued that the family court’s order is illegal. 

The bench also made it clear that an unmarried daughter born to an inter-religious couple is entitled to marriage expenses from her father. The court also considered a legal question: What is the amount entitled by an unmarried daughter towards her marriage expenses? 

“In our society, marriage is not a ceremony anymore. Gone are the days when marriages used to be austere...The sacred occasion of marriage is now being considered as an opportunity to show off,” observed the court.

“However, the pandemic has taught us that a small intimate ceremony with no celebration or even virtual wedding is possible. People are free to conduct marriage in any manner they wish. But, an unmarried daughter cannot ask her father to conduct it lavishly,” the court said.

Hence, in a petition filed by the unmarried daughter against the father claiming marriage expenses, the court can only award bare minimum reasonable expenses, only if the father has means and the daughter is dependent on him. The HC reduced the amount granted by the family court towards marriage expenses to Rs 3 lakh.


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