Bombay High Courts laments the need to reinforce moral obligations in statutes

April 2, 2020

by Rajas Salpekar

Justice Sadhna Jadhav while hearing a petition of a Kolhapur based son, observed, “It is unfortunate that a moral obligation is crystallized into a duty enforceable law.” The petition involves the son challenging an order passed by the sub divisional officer (SDO) which called upon him to pay Rs 3500 as monthly maintenance to his mother and to bear the ensuing treatment costs.

The mother had originally reached the SDO to ensure maintenance by her son under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Citizens Act, 2007. She also told that the son, at the urge of his wife, had mentally harassed her and had also gone to the level of assaulting her. Following this complaint, the son was immediately arrested under Section 151 of IPC.

The SDO, in April 2019 had ordered the son to pay Rs 3,500 towards maintenance of the mother  and had also directed to give the mother a separate room in his residence. However, the hardheaded and stubborn son appealed before the additional collector contesting that the mother used to sell pickels and earn rs 200 daily and was thus not in need of any maintenance. Subsequently, the appeal was dismissed.

The Bombay High Court then, in an order dated 11th March 2020, found that the mother was 62 years old and was not in a capacity to carry on pickle trade to earn a living and thus the claim of the son was unfounded. It further ordered the son to pay Rs 3500 with an additional interest of 8% per annum, in consonance with Section 14 of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Citizens Act, 2007.

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