Bombay High court noted that both parents should be equally responsible for taking care of their children’s education expenses. The observations were made while the court was hearing a plea of an 18 year old, as he was finding it difficult to pay his fees at IIT Dhanbad.
The division bench of Justice Atul Chandurkar and Justice GN Sanap dismissed the father’s contention that he is unable to raise the maintenance as he has to take care of his old mother, divorced sister, and daughter.
Children Must Be First Priority In Maintenance Matters
“Children must be the first priority of a parent in the matter of maintenance. Before the petitioner’s birth in 2001, his parents had separated and he has been residing with mother. Both of his parents are serving as teachers, each earning a salary of over Rs 48,000. It is, therefore, apparent that both are equally responsible to share maintenance as well as education expenses of their son,” noted the bench.
The bench went on to add, “Even if it is assumed, for the sake of argument, that there are some other persons dependent on the father, the child must be his first priority in the matter of maintenance. If he fails to share the maintenance and expenses, then the mother would be required to bear the unnecessary burden.”
The division bench directed the man to increase the maintenance from Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,500 with effect from October 27, 2015, the date of filing the petition.
The 18-year old had scored 93% in the Class X exam and had secured admission in the mechanical branch in IIT Dhanbad. All the education expenses were shouldered by the mother till now and the father was paying him Rs 5,000 every month. He approached the High Court seeking directions to raise the compensation to Rs 15,000 as he was finding it difficult to pay the college fees.