Bombay High Court: In a civil application filed by an ex-wife for reimbursement of her child’s educational expenses in Australia amounting to Rs 1.2 crores among other things, a division bench comprising of Akil Kureshi and S.J. Kathawalla, JJ. observed that if a divorced husband is not consulted by his ex-wife on the decision concerning the education of their child, he is not liable to bear the entire cost for the educational expenses.

The Bench opined that when a ward is being sent abroad for education which entails considerable expenditure, the concurrence of both parents, particularly one who is expected to bear the expenditure, is necessary. The Court further stated that the husband certainly has a right to inquire about the university where the child is admitted, the course being pursued, the aptitude of the child in the particular branch of education etc and therefore it would not be fair if the applicant-wife took a unilateral decision of such magnitude and simply sent the bill for the expenditure to the father.

The Court refused to let husband bear full expenses of his ward’s foreign education but looking at his financial capacity and since his daughter was performing well at her course in Australia, found it appropriate to direct him to bear a part of his daughter’s expenses amounting to Rs 25 Lakhs towards the said cause. [Sheetal v. Deepak Govindram Bhatija, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 3822, decided on 17-10-2019]

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