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The father of an interfaith couple's children has the right to support them: Kerala High Court

The Kerala High Court has held that the children of an interfaith partner are qualified to be given supervision by their father. “Caste, faith or religion cannot be the logical basis for deciding the parental duty of a father. All children have to be ministered alike, irrespective of the faith or religion affirmed by parents. No doubt the son’s entitlement is until he achieves the age of majority and that of the daughter is until she obtains married” held the court.

A Division Bench containing Justice A Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Kauser Edappagath allocated the order on the appeal filed by J W Aragadan of Kozhikode questioning the order of the Family Court, Nedumangad.

The petitioner is a Hindu and his wife is a Muslim. Their daughter was brought up as Muslim. The family court had instructed them to pay Rs 14,66,860 on her wedding expenses and Rs 96,000 on academic expenses. The petitioner claimed that the family court’s order is illegal.

The bench also made it clear that an unmarried daughter born to an inter-religious couple is authorised to marriage expenditures from her father. The court also considered a legal question: What is the amount permitted by an unmarried daughter on her marriage expenditures?

“In our society, marriage is not a tradition or ritual anymore. Gone are the days when marriages used to be unadorned. The sacred occasion of marriage is now being viewed as a chance to show off,” observed the court.

“However, the pandemic has taught us that a small private ceremony with no extravaganza or even virtual wedding is attainable. People are free to perform a marriage in any manner they wish. But, an unmarried daughter cannot ask her father to steer it luxuriously,” the court said.

Hence, in a petition filed by the unmarried daughter against the father claiming marriage expenditures, the court can only award bare minimum appropriate expenditures, only if the father has means and the daughter is dependent on him. The HC reduced the amount granted by the family court towards marriage expenditures to Rs 3 lakh.

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