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Supreme Court has directed a man to support his son financially not only till he is 18 instead till the time he earns his first formal degree as graduation is now considered as the basic education.

The division bench comprising Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah directed, “Paying only till he turns 18 will not be sufficient in present times when the first basic degree comes only after one completes his college. You should pay for his education, at least till he gets his first formal degree from a college.”

The apex court modified the order issued by a family court in 2017 and directed the man to pay for his son’s education till March 31, 2027 to ensure that he is getting all the necessary financial support for his education.

A family court in Karnataka’s Bagalkot has announced a verdict in September 2017 in which the man was directed to pay Rs 20,000 maintenance to his son from the first marriage till the son turns 18.

The couple got married in 1999 and their son was born in 2004. The petitioner who worked in a government health department separated from his wife and divorced her in 2005.

After the family court directed him to pay Rs 20,000 monthly allowance to his son, the man challenged the order in state High Court. The family court order was upheld by the High court in 2019.

Finally, the man moved Supreme Court stating that his salary is little over Rs 21,000 and so that he has now married again and has two children, it is really difficult to manage the expenses.

Advocate Chinmay Deshpande appearing for the petitioner argued that the man separated from his first wife because she was in an adulterous relationship.

To which, the bench replied, “You cannot punish the child for this. What does the child have to do all this? And when you married again, you must have known you already have a child that you need to support.”

Advocate Gaurav Agarwal, representing the first wife and her son, submitted that it will be appropriate for the father if he can pay a lesser amount and not just till the age of 18, instead, till his son completed his graduation.

The bench found the suggestion fair and therefore modified the family court order and asked the father to pay Rs 10,000 from March 1, 2021 onwards till 2027 or completion of his graduation, and also enhance the monthly allowance by ₹1,000 at the start of every subsequent financial year.


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