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Gopalakrishnan vs Gopalakrishnan on 14 March, 2019

IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

PRESENT

THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE C.K.ABDUL REHIM

THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE T.V.ANILKUMAR

THURSDAY ,THE 14TH DAY OF MARCH 2019 / 23RD PHALGUNA, 1940

OP (FC).No. 73 of 2019

I.A.NO.2790/2018 IN O.P.NO.331/2018 of FAMILY COURT, MAVELIKKARA
DATED 23-01-2019

PETITIONER/RESPONDENT:

GOPALAKRISHNAN,
AGED 57 YEARS,
S/O.KUTTIY, GOGO BHAVANAM, FROM, GIGI BHAVANAM,
ERAMALLIKKARA P.O.,
VANAVATHUKKAKARA MURI,
THIRUVANVANDOOR VILLAGE, ALAPPUZHA.

BY ADV. SRI.N.K.MOHANLAL

RESPONDENT/PETITIONER:
ASWATHY,
AGED 31 YEARS,
D/O.GOPALAKRISHNAN,
PALANIKKUNNATHIL HOUSE, ARANMULA, FROM,
GIGI BHAVANAM, ERAMALLIKKARA P.O.,
VANAVATHUKKAKARA MURI, THIRUVANVANDOOR VILLAGE,
ALAPPUZHA.

THIS OP (FAMILY COURT) HAVING BEEN FINALLY HEARD ON 14.2.2019,
THE COURT ON 14.03.2019 DELIVERED THE FOLLOWING:
OP (FC).No. 73 of 2019 : 2 :

C.K.ABDUL REHIM

T.V.ANILKUMAR, JJ.
———————————
O.P.(FC)No.73 of 2019
———————————-
Dated this the 14th day of March, 2019

JUDGMENT

T.V.ANILKUMAR,J.

Father of an unmarried girl aged 31 years challenges

the order dated 23.1.2019 of the Family Court, Mavelikkara

in I.A.No.2790/2018 in O.P.No.331/2018 awarding an amount

of `1 lakh towards the claim for her marriage expenses. The

respondent, daughter filed O.P.No.331/2018 for a decree

directing payment of marriage expenses to the tune of `10

lakhs, claimed under various heads of expenditure. After the

petitioner having entered appearance in the original petition,

she moved before the court below for award of an interim

relief, claiming marriage expenses to the tune of `5 lakhs.

The petitioner seriously opposed the plea. But the court

below, negativing all his objections, directed the petitioner to

pay a lesser amount of `1 lakh towards marriage expenses of
OP (FC).No. 73 of 2019 : 3 :

the respondent, daughter, pending final disposal of the O.P.

The said order is under challenge.

2. There is no denial that the respondent is the

daughter of the petitioner. When the petitioner and

respondent’s mother fell out in their matrimonial relationship,

he sued her for divorce in the Family Court and the litigation

is now pending in appeal. Ever since the petitioner’s strained

relationship with his wife, the daughter has been in the

company of the mother all these years. According to her, her

marriage was proposed with one Mr.Vysakh Kumar,

Eraviperoor Village, on 3.2.2019. Therefore she is badly in

need of minimal marriage expenses to the tune of `5 lakhs,

as an interim relief. According to her, she has no other

source of income and her mother is also equally in

impecunious circumstances.

3. According to the respondent, the petitioner is a

retired Army person getting substantial amount of `50,000/-

towards pension. He had worked as a security guard in the

State Bank of Travancore, from where also he has earned a

substantial amount of income.

OP (FC).No. 73 of 2019 : 4 :

4. The petitioner opposed respondent’s claim on four

grounds, namely (i) He is suffering from Cerebral Micro

Angiopathy and is being treated for the disease. Without the

support of a bystander, he cannot pursue his daily affairs. (ii)

Respondent, daughter is earning `20,000/- every month as a

Pharmacist of CM Hospital, Pandalam and therefore she is

dis entitled to any maintenance. (iii) Since the daughter is

living separately from him for no justifiable reasons, she is not

entitled to claim marriage expenses under law, and lastly (iv)

The claim for marriage expenses advanced by her takes the

characteristic features of ‘dowry’ defined under the Dowry

Prohibition Act, 1961.

5. The court below, after considering contentions of

both parties, found that the father is liable to meet the

marriage expenses of the respondent since she has no

sufficient means to support herself from any source of her

own. The medical ground urged by the petitioner was not

accepted as if it was not proved before the court below. The

contention that marriage expenses payable by a father to a

daughter virtually amounts to dowry was also rejected by the
OP (FC).No. 73 of 2019 : 5 :

court below.

6. We heard the counsel appearing on both sides.

7. The liability of a father to maintain his daughter

does not depend on his financial position or status and it is

quite independent of possession of any properties or assets

with him. Marriage expenses are part of maintenance

amount as defined by Section 3 of the Hindu Adoptions and

Maintenance Act, 1956. Therefore a father has statutory

obligation to meet the marriage expenses of his daughter, so

long as she is unable to maintain herself. The amount

payable towards marriage expenses, according to us, has no

characteristics of dowry within the meaning of Section 2 of

the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. Dowry under the aforesaid

Act refers to a property or a valuable security given by a party

to marriage or his or her parents to the other party to the

marriage or his parents. Amounts spent or payable towards

marriage of a daughter is no way a payment of dowry, which

the Dowry Prohibition Act prohibits. Therefore, the argument

that marriage expenses claimed by the respondent would

tantamount to payment of dowry does not merit acceptance
OP (FC).No. 73 of 2019 : 6 :

under law.

8. Equally unsound is the argument of the learned

counsel for the petitioner that the separate residence of the

respondent from the father will disentitle her to claim marriage

expenses. Under Section 23(2)(c) of the Hindu Adoptions

and Maintenance Act, the claimant who lives separately

without any justification is generally disentitled to claim

maintenance from her parent. But here, the respondent has

an explanation that ever since petitioner’s relationship with

her mother strained, she has been continuing in the company

of her mother. We do not think that the justification offered by

her is without merit.

9. It may be true that the petitioner is undergoing

treatment for some sort of disease. But that does not excuse

him from discharging his statutory liability to an unmarried

daughter. He is admittedly a pensioner who was formerly in

Military service and later a security guard in a Bank. These

facts would prima facie prove that he has sufficient means to

make payment of interim marriage expenses of the

respondent as fixed by the court below. There is no evidence
OP (FC).No. 73 of 2019 : 7 :

to prove that the respondent has got any independent source

of income of her own, though there is an allegation against

her that she is a Pharmacist attached to a particular hospital.

In an interlocutory proceeding claiming marriage expenses,

the court is concerned only with establishment of a prima

facie case by the claimant based on the available materials

before the court. Applying the test of prima facie case, we

are satisfied that the respondent has no source of income

and the father/petitioner has sufficient means to meet the

marriage expenses of his daughter, to the extent fixed by the

impugned order.

10. We are satisfied that the court below has taken a

very reasonable and balanced view in the matter and the

impugned order does not consequently call for any

interference on factual or legal grounds. We are inclined to

confirm the order and dismiss the original petition. However,

taking a lenient view to the petitioner, we are inclined to

permit him to make payment of `1 lakh awarded by the court

below in two equal installments.

In the result, confirming the impugned order of the
OP (FC).No. 73 of 2019 : 8 :

Family Court, Mavelikkara in I.A.No.2790/2018 in O.P.No.

331/2018, we dismiss this O.P. The petitioner shall pay the

amount of `1 lakh ordered, in two equal installments falling

due on or before 31.3.2019 and 30.4.2019.

Sd/-

C.K.ABDUL REHIM
JUDGE

Sd/-

T.V.ANILKUMAR,
JUDGE

Bb
OP (FC).No. 73 of 2019 : 9 :

APPENDIX

PETITIONER’S/S
EXHIBIT P2 EXHIBITS:

A TRUE COPY OF THE STATEMENT OF
OBJECTION I.A.NO.2790/2018 IN OP
NO.331/2018 BEFORE THE HON’BLE FAMILY
COURT, MAVELIKKARA

EXHIBIT P3 A TRUE COPY OF THE ORDER DATED
23/1/2019 IN IA NO.2790/2018 IN OP NO.
331/2018 BEFORE HON’BLE FAMILY COURT,
MAVELIKKARA.

EXHIBIT P4 A TRUE COPY OF THE MEDICAL CERTIFICATE
DATED 5/1/2019 ISSUED BY MUTHOOT
HEALTH CARE PRIVATE LTD.

EXHIBIT P5 A TRUE COPY OF THE MEDICAL CERTIFICATE
DATED 7/6/2016 ISSUED BY MEDICAL
COLLEGE HOSPITAL, KOTTAYAM IN
CONNECTION WITH NEURO AILMENT.

EXHIBIT P6 A TRUE COPY OF THE CERTIFICATE DATED
22/12/2018 ISSUED BY VILLAGE OFFICER,
THIRUVANVANDOOR.

RESPONDENT’S EXHIBITS:

NIL

//True Copy//

P.A. To Judge

Bb

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