Delhi High Court Rules on Maintenance from Father-in-Law

New Delhi, December 12, 2023 – In a significant judgment, the Delhi High Court has ruled on a maintenance case filed by a widow daughter-in-law against her father-in-law. The case, registered under MAT.APP.(F.C.) 61/2020, pertained to the daughter-in-law seeking maintenance under Section 19 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.

Background of the Case

The daughter-in-law, married to the son of the appellant, filed the petition after her husband’s demise on July 15, 2009. Alleging dispossession from property and seeking maintenance, she approached the Family Court, which directed the appellant to pay Rs.3,000 per month as interim maintenance till November 30, 2019, and Rs.5,000 per month thereafter. Additionally, he was ordered to bear educational expenses and utility bills.

Appellant's Grounds for Appeal

The appellant, dissatisfied with the Family Court’s decision, filed an appeal. He argued that the court miscalculated his income, pegging it at Rs. 25,000 per month, while his actual pension is Rs. 13,500 per month. He contended that the respondent already received widow pension and that the maintenance awarded was unjust.

Image of a Judge passing order. Text overlay says "Maintenance from Father-in-Law"

Delhi High Court's Verdict

The Delhi High Court, comprising Hon’ble Mr. Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Hon’ble Ms. Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, revisited the case. The court considered the daughter-in-law’s claims of dispossession and her need for maintenance.

While acknowledging Section 19 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, the court clarified that the daughter-in-law’s right to maintenance is limited to the share of coparcenary property held by the father-in-law. In this case, the court found that the properties in question were self-acquired by the appellant and his wife, as evidenced by relevant documents provided by the appellant.

The court allowed the appellant’s appeal, setting aside the maintenance order. It ruled that he is not obligated to pay maintenance. However, he is directed to continue paying electricity and water bills for the portion of the property where the daughter-in-law resides.

Download Judgment

Click above to download this Judgment in the case titled MAT.APP.(F.C.) 61/2020. It can serve as a valuable resource for legal reference.

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