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Advocate helps foster son win alimony from father

In what a city court described as an “interesting legal scenario,” a foster father — an advocate — fought a legal battle for his teenaged son and helped him receive maintenance from his biological father.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi |
August 26, 2009 12:30:20 am

In what a city court described as an “interesting legal scenario,” a foster father — an advocate — fought a legal battle for his teenaged son and helped him receive maintenance from his biological father.

Granting relief to Yunus,the boy,Additional Sessions Judge Dharmesh Sharma pulled up Abdul,his biological father,for ignoring Yunus’s needs and has ordered him to deposit Rs 25,000 with the trial court,where the maintenance petition is pending.

As per the petition,Abdul and Salma were married in 1990 as per Muslim rites and Yunus was born in April 1991. Following severe marital discord,Abdul divorced Salma in 1994 according to the Muslim personal law but she retained the custody of her child keeping his welfare in mind.

Salma subsequently married Firoz,an advocate in the Delhi trial courts and she filed a maintenance petition on behalf of her son in 2005. Firoz represented Yunus before the magistrate and succeeded in receiving an alimony order in favour of the boy. The magistrate,in his order in May,asked Abdul to pay Rs 1,000 a month as maintenance for his son.

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Abdul,however,felt aggrieved and approached the sessions court. Expressing his reluctance to pay money for the boy,he contended that Yunus’s current parents had sufficient means for his proper upbringing and that he should not be asked to give maintenance almost 11 years after the divorce.

Abdul also claimed he had no liability according to Muslim law as Salma had remarried. Firoz,however,produced a number of Supreme Court and High Court judgments that clearly established that Section-125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure dealing with the maintenance provision overrode Muslim personal law.

The advocate also established that his income could not be legally accounted for while adjudicating whether his foster son required alimony or not.

ASJ Sharma found substance in Firoz’s arguments and held that the maintenance provision unequivocally accords a legal right to a minor child to seek maintenance from any person,who despite sufficient means,neglected or refused to maintain him/her.

“Much significance cannot be accorded to the fact that the child is seeking maintenance from his father after more than 11 years. He can certainly claim maintenance from his biological father provided the grounds claimed for maintenance as provided under the law are satisfied,” the court held in its recent order.

Slamming Abdul for attempting to dodge this liability,ASJ Sharma said: “He has not cared about the welfare of his biological son. He never broached the issue of custody of his son and that must have been very hard for the mental and psychological set up of the boy.”

(All names have been changed)

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