LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has ruled that a father is not only bound to maintain his daughter till her marriage but also responsible to bear the expenses of her marriage according to his financial status.

“The maintenance paid by a father to his child is not a courtesy rather a religi­o­­us, legal, moral and social duty of a father, which cannot be put aside on frail gro­unds,” Justice Chau­­dhry Muhammad Iqbal ruled.

The verdict, issued rece­ntly, dismissed the petition of a man challenging the decision of a family court wherein he had been ord­ered to bear the expen­ses of the marriage of his daughter, who lives with her mother, to the tune of Rs150,000.

The mother had sought an amount of Rs300,000 to be paid by the father, her former husband, to meet the wedding expenses.

Justice Iqbal in the judgement observed that Article 35 of the constitution provides protection to the mother and child.

The judge stated that even when a woman has attained puberty/majority, she needs the help and assistance of her father to formally enter matrimony. The father must function as a guardian on her behalf to enable his daughter into the contract of marriage.

According to the ruling, the right of maintenance does not limit itself only to food, raiment and lodging but also entails all other necessary expenses for mental and physical wellbeing of the recipient.

“Admittedly, a father is bound to maintain his daughter till her marriage but at the eve of her marr­i­a­­ge, how the burden of maintenance/monetary ob­­l­i­­­ga­t­i­on can be shifted to a mother, who does not figure anywhere in the compulsion to provide maintenance to his children,” the ruling added.

The judge observed that the petitioner’s refusal to pay the marriage expenses of his daughter amounted to penalising her due to the reason that she has been living with her mother, who has been divorced by the petitioner.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2022

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