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29 September 2011

Muslim fathers to pay marriage expenses of children, says HC

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By Mahir Haneef

Kochi: All fathers are equal when it comes to the duties to their children, and Muslim fathers are no exception, the high court clarified this week. The court also held that those executing the law need not wait for implementation of Uniform Civil Code but can use the mandate granted by the Constitution.

Considering a writ petition by a Muslim father challenging a lower court order to pay expenses, Justice R Basant and K Surendra Mohan ruled that law interpreters need not wait for Parliament to enact the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).

Until UCC is enacted, the interpretation, as a functionality of State consistent with the mandate of Article 44 of the Constitution, is applicable to all, the division bench held. Article 44 says that the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India.

The judgment was on a petition by a Muslim father who questioned a family court order directing him to pay the marriage expenses of his daughter. The family court ordered Ismail from Thrissur to pay Rs 10 lakh as marriage expenses and to attach 50 cents of land owned by him to realize the cash.

The contention of Ismail was that a Muslim father is not obliged to provide marriage expenses according to Shariah law. However, the court disagreed and ruled that the law specifies that it is the duty of the father to provide maintenance of children, and that the obligation is not limited to food, shelter, and other basic expenses.

The right or obligation to maintain unmarried daughter includes right or obligation to meet marriage expenses. This is applicable to all fathers, the court ruled.

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

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