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Father cannot be free from education expenses of adult son: Delhi High Court

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The Delhi High Court held that a father cannot be absolved of his responsibilities for meeting the education expenses of his son, simply because he has attained the age of majority. Justice Subramaniam Prasad said in an order that the court cannot shut its eyes from the fact that mere attainment of the age of majority does not imply that the son is earning. It states that at the age of 18, the son can be presumed to be either graduating from class XII or is in his first year of college.

Justice Prasad, a judge of the Delhi High Court in a matrimonial dispute said, “Not just because the mother is earning, the father cannot be debarred from the responsibility of the maintenance of the child. Any contribution of the father on the mother cannot be denied.” The full burden of bearing the cost of educating the children cannot be put on without it.The court observed that the purpose of section 125 of CrPC is to ensure that the husband does not leave the wife and children destitute after divorce.

The Court observed that “the individual should also bear the financial burden of the children so that his children may attain a prosperous place in the society”. A mother should not bear the entire cost of her son’s education just because he has completed 18 years of age.

In fact, while commenting on the lower court’s decision, the High Court further said that the man is bound to pay compensation to the wife after spending on the children. In June 2021, the trial court had ordered a man in a matrimonial dispute to pay Rs 15,000 per month for the maintenance of his wife and children, till his son completes graduation or starts earning.

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The person argued before the High Court that the Supreme Court has held that maintenance for children can be provided only when the children have not attained majority. It was told before the High Court that the son had attained majority in August 2018. The court was also told that the wife is a gazetted officer who earns more than Rs 60,000 per month and also bears the education expenses of her children.

The High Court observed that women in most of the households are unable to work due to socio-cultural and structural constraints and thus cannot support themselves financially. However, it states that even in households where women are working and earning enough to sustain themselves, the husband cannot be exempted from paying the amount.

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