HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
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(1.)THE question for decision in this case is whether the natural mother of the minor illegitimate children could settle out of Court the claim of the minors against their putative father for maintenance ordered by the Court to be paid monthly under Section 411 of the Hyderabad Criminal Procedure Code corresponding to Section 488 of the Indian Code.
(2.)THE putative father's case is that subsequent to the order of maintenance passed against him in favour of the minor children, he had entered into a compromise with the mother of the minors, acting on their behalf by delivering to them a bull in full settlement of the claim for their future maintenance. On behalf of the minors it is contended that such a compromise is not binding on the minor children. It is admitted by the parties that the bull died some time ago and that its value is somewhere between Rs. 100/- to 150/ -.
(3.)PROCEEDINGS under Section 488 of the Criminal Procedure Code are not in the nature of criminal proceedings. They are really civil proceedings but dealt with summarily in a criminal Court for purpose of speedy disposal on grounds of convenience and social order. Where paternity is admitted by the putative father or held proved by a Court, the putative father is in law the natural guardian of this illegitimate child in preference to the mother. He thus stands in a fiduciary position in respect of his minor child as the father and natural guardian though in several other respects the illegitimate children do not stand on a par with legitimate children. It cannot, therefore, be seriously contended on behalf of the putative father that a compromise with the natural mother of the children is ipso facto binding on the minor children. It is the duty of the criminal Court to see, as does a civil Court whether the compromise is really beneficial and advantageous to the minors and more so when the claim is for their maintenance. In this particular case, considering the age of the minors who are said to be not more than 10 years old, I am not prepared to hold that the giving of a bull can be held sufficient to meet the maintenance of the children for the future until they become fit enough to earn for themselves or until they attain majority. I, therefore, hold that the compromise is not binding on the minors.
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