Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 26 May 2022 11.42 AM IST

Religion and responsibilities of father


Civilized society does not condone caste and religion hindering them from fulfilling their responsibilities as parents. Unfortunately, religion and caste are being used by some as a shield for wrongdoings. The ultimate love is the basis and goal of all religions. But the irony is that great animosities and conflicts arise in the name of religion and caste. Religion is not to blame for this. It is the selfish interests of those who deal with it that lead to hatred. There are many who think that religion and caste are there to protect them from any wrongdoing. Those who adorn the responsible positions of religions do not try to correct those who do so, and they add fuel to the fire. This is what drives many to shirk even their own responsibilities in the name of religion. The High Court has issued a valuable order against such tendencies. The HC has unequivocally stated that religion, caste and creed have no role to play in determining one's role as a father. The division bench of the high court observed in the case filed by a father challenging the family court order to pay alimony to the daughter of the parents belonging to different religions.

The appeal was filed against the order of the Nedumangad Family Court to pay alimony of Rs 16.70 lakh to the daughter, including expenses incurred for marriage and education. The appeal was filed by a father from Kozhikode who belongs to the Hindu community. The mother was a Muslim. The parents divorced when the daughter was three years old. The mother later got married again. From the age of three, the child was brought up by the mother's parents according to the Islamic religion. The daughter filed a petition in the family court for alimony against her parents.

The family court had ordered to pay Rs 14.66 lakh as wedding expenses. This was reduced to three lakhs by the Division Bench. The court reduced the amount, taking into account the father's current financial situation. Apart from this, he was ordered to pay Rs 5,000 as alimony and Rs 96,000 as education expenses. The significance of this decision of the court is that the order is not just looking at the law. This is because there is currently no law to determine the alimony of children born to parents of different religions. The Special Marriage Act of 1984 is also silent on this issue. However, the court ruled that parents have an obligation to protect their children in accordance with the rights of children recognized by the UN Convention. The court noted that this right was recognized by India in 1992. The order was passed by a division bench comprising Justice Mohammad Mushtaq and Justice Kauser Edappagath. Cases may still arise on the basis of this ruling. Those who look at the law only point out the disadvantage that there is no law at present. Therefore, lawmakers should take the initiative to bring in a clear law to determine the alimony of children born to parents of different religions. The High Court judgment points to that as well. The Special Marriage Act also needs to be amended in view of the increasing number of marriages between people of different religions.

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