Supreme Court: Father has the responsibility to maintain child till adulthood

Supreme Court: Father has the responsibility to maintain child till adulthood

Case Name: Neha Tyagi v. Lieutenant Colonel Deepak Tyagi (Civil Appeal No. 6374 of 2021)


The Supreme Court recently observed that it’s the father’s responsibility to maintain the child till the child attains adulthood. The court stated that a child should not suffer because of issues between the parents. In the present case, the wife has approached the Supreme Court after being dissatisfied with the decision passed by the High Court. The judgment was given by a division bench of Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna.


The marriage between the appellant and respondent was solemnized on 16th November 2005. The respondent was serving as a Major in the Army. The parties have a minor son named Pranav Tyagi who was born on 23rd February 2008. The appellant filed numerous complaints about the respondent's extra-marital affairs to the Army Authorities. An inquiry was initiated by the Army Authorities against the respondent based on the complaints. In the inquiry, the respondent was given a clean chit.

The respondent filed for divorce on the grounds of cruelty and desertion by his wife on 25th November 2014. The case was filed in a Family Court in Jaipur. Since 2012, the Army Authorities were deducting 27.5% of the salary per month from the pay and allowances of the respondent as per Section 90(1) of the Army Act, 1950. On 19th May 2018, the decree for divorce was granted. The appellant filed an appeal before the High Court against the decree passed by the Family Court. The High Court dismissed the appeal and confirmed the judgment of the Family Court. Now the appellant has approached the Supreme Court

Arguments on behalf of the appellants

The appellant submitted that the respondent has failed to appear before the court In addition the respondent has remarried. The court has passed an interim order on 22 November 2019 and still the respondent has failed to appear in the proceedings. The counsel has urged the court to remove cruelty as the ground to dissolve the marriage and consider the irretrievable breakdown of marriage as the ground for divorce. Both the parties have been residing separately since May 2011 and the respondent has re-married another woman. It was also submitted that the appellant and her minor son have no source of income and the respondent be directed to maintain them. Since December 2019 the wife has not been receiving maintenance which she used to receive from the Army Authorities. They were being paid Rs. 40,000 till November 2019. Thus, they have prayed before the court to receive maintenance from the husband for herself and her son. 


The Supreme Court stated that there lies no merit in re-appreciating the evidence on the dissolution of marriage based on cruelty since the respondent has remarried. Therefore, the decree passed by the Family Court, confirmed by the High Court need not interfere on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. The respondent cannot be absolved from the liability of maintaining his minor son till he attains adulthood. The child should not suffer because of the dispute between mother and father. The appellant is not earning anything and is residing at her parental home. Therefore, a reasonable amount is required for the maintenance of the child. The respondent is liable to pay maintenance to the child irrespective of the dissolution of the marriage between the appellant and respondent. The amount being paid to the appellant has been stopped by the respondent since November 2019

The Supreme Court confirmed the decree of dissolution of the marriage between appellant and respondent. However, the respondent is directed to pay Rs. 50,000/- per month with effect from December 2019 to the appellant towards the maintenance of the minor son as per the status of the respondent. The arrears shall be paid within eight weeks from today from December 2019 to November 2021. The current maintenance i.e., Rs. 50,000 be deducted from the salary of the respondent from December 2021. The appellant is directed to furnish bank details to the Army Authorities. If the respondent fails to pay the arrears the Army Authorities will deduct the amount in equal monthly installments from the respondent’s salary. 


Mili Rawat
B.A.LLB(Hons.) from National Law Institute University, Bhopal.

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