Tejaswita
PAYING MAINTENANCE TOWARDS THE CHILD ENTITLES THE PARENT FOR VISITATION RIGHTS
Tejaswita 23 Oct 2016

PAYING MAINTENANCE TOWARDS THE CHILD ENTITLES THE PARENT FOR VISITATION RIGHTS

When one is a part of the legal field, it is common for one to come across various family disputes. Most common ones being matrimonial proceedings. It is a common sight in the family courts for a person to see spouses fighting each other. An issue that is common to most of them is the payment of maintenance.

Often, a husband refuses to pay his wife, the maintenance that she demands or is held entitled too. There may also be cases where maintenance is ordered to be paid towards the expenses of the child. However, consider a scenario where the parent who has the custody of the child does not allow the other parent to visit the child or there are strict conditions imposed on the visits. Obviously, it would be hurtful for such a parent who is devoid of the child’s company.

In a recent case before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court relating to maintenance disputes (MANPREET SINGH BHATIA v. SUMITA BHATIA, MAT.APP.(F.C.) 79/2014, date of decision- 20.10.2016, available at https://indiankanoon.org/doc/121076324/ ), a Division Bench of justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice Pratibha Rani held that a father who is ready and willing to pay maintenance for his daughter is also entitled to see his daughter at least on festivals, her birthday or at regular intervals.

The facts of the case were however not concerned with visitation rights but related to a dispute of interim maintenance. The husband was aggrieved towards the maintenance amount that was to be paid to the wife. In this case, the court opined that the provisions of Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 are beneficent in nature and the power is exercised by the Court not only out of compassion but also by way of judicial duty so that the indigent spouse may not suffer at the instance of the affluent spouse. The court further opined that the word ‘support’ in Section 24 is not to be narrowly interpreted. It does not mean bare existence. It means that the claimant spouse should have the same comfort as the other. However, the court appreciated that the Section is not intended to bring about arithmetical equality between the two spouses.

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