Allahabad High Court Upholds Unmarried Daughters’ Right to Maintenance Regardless of Age and Religious Affiliation

In a landmark ruling, the Allahabad High Court has affirmed the right of unmarried daughters, irrespective of their religious background, to seek maintenance from their parents under the Domestic Violence Act. The judgment was delivered by Justice Jyotsna Sharma while dismissing a petition filed by Naimullah Sheikh and another individual.

Justice Sharma unequivocally stated, “There remains no doubt that an unmarried daughter, whether Hindu or Muslim, has a right to obtain maintenance, irrespective of her age.” The court clarified that in cases where the question pertains solely to maintenance, courts should explore other applicable laws. However, it emphasized that the Domestic Violence Act itself provides independent rights to the aggrieved party under Section 20, extending beyond mere maintenance concerns.

The petition in question was filed under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (DV) Act, 2005, by parents contesting the order to grant maintenance to their three daughters. The daughters had initiated legal proceedings, citing mistreatment by their father and stepmother.

The trial court had initially granted interim maintenance, a decision contested by the respondents who argued that the daughters were adults and financially independent. The appellate court upheld the trial court’s decision. In the ruling dated January 10, the court dismissed the petitioner’s claim that adult daughters cannot seek maintenance, emphasizing that the primary goal of the DV Act is to offer more effective protection to women.

The court highlighted that while the substantive right to receive maintenance may be derived from other laws, the DV Act, 2005, provides a streamlined and expedited procedure for obtaining the same. This ruling stands as a significant step towards reinforcing the rights of unmarried daughters and ensuring their access to a swift legal process for maintenance under the Domestic Violence Act.

Allahabad High CourtDomestic Violence ActRight to Maintenance