18 Jan 2023 6:36 AM GMT
While hearing a petition to transfer a matrimonial dispute from Pudukottai to Ponneri in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court noted that the father, who was working as a Village Administration Officer was not paying interim maintenance to his 10 year old daughter.While directing him to make such payment irrespective of visitation rights, Justice SM Subramaniam also directed the District Collector...
While hearing a petition to transfer a matrimonial dispute from Pudukottai to Ponneri in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court noted that the father, who was working as a Village Administration Officer was not paying interim maintenance to his 10 year old daughter.
While directing him to make such payment irrespective of visitation rights, Justice SM Subramaniam also directed the District Collector to take strict action against the officer under service rules if he failed to pay such interim maintenance.
In the event of any failure on the part of the respondent in paying the Interim Maintenance to the minor girl child, the petitioner is at liberty to submit a complaint to the District Collector concerned under whom the respondent is working as the Village Administrative Officer (VAO). In such circumstances, the District Collector concerned is bound to initiate appropriate Disciplinary Proceedings against the respondent for committing an act of misconduct under the Tamil Nadu Government Servants Conduct Rules.
The court noted that the father, being the natural guardian and an earning member was duty bound to take care of the child when the mother was unemployed.
The father being the natural guardian under the Guardian and Wards Act, is bound to maintain his minor daughter or son by paying maintenance even in such circumstances, where there is a matrimonial dispute or for visitation right. Such rights are to be established considering various other facts and circumstances.
Highlighting the importance of paying maintenance, the court noted that the Constitution has considered maintenance as a measure of social justice to prevent women and children from falling into destitution and vagrancy.
Previously, while considering a similar petition for transfer, the court had noted that even when parents were not filing applications for interim maintenance, it was the duty of the court go guard the interests of the child and allow maintenance. The court had also highlighted that the husband cannot escape from this liability on the ground that the wife was educated and could support herself.
In the present case, the court allowed the transfer noting that the petitioner was unemployed and taking care of the 10 year old child and thus it was difficult for her to contest the case at Pudukottai.
In the present case, the transfer of the case is to be considered,since the petitioner is unemployed and taking care of 10 year old girl child and she is residing along with her parents at Chennai. That being the case, the divorce case filed by the respondent is to be transferred to the place, where the petitioner resides.
Case Title: M Mahalakshmi v. M Vijayakumar
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mad) 17
Case No: Tr.C.M.P.No.567 of 2022