Supreme Court Safeguards Grandfather’s Rights in Maintenance Claim

The recent judgement by the Supreme Court of Pakistan deals with the question of a grandfather’s obligation to provide maintenance for his grandchild. In this case, the court attached Bashir Ahmad’s property to enforce a maintenance decree against his son (the child’s father), who is a grandfather.

PLD 2024 Supreme Court 67

Bashir Ahmad vs Additional District Judge, Hafizabad & Others

Date of Judgement: November 3, 2023

Fair Trial and Due Process

Firstly, the court stressed the importance of a fair trial and due process. These rights, enshrined in Articles 4 and 10A of the Pakistani Constitution, extend to everyone, including grandparents facing maintenance claims from their grandchildren.

Grandfather’s Obligation for maintenance under Islamic Law

Islamic law dictates that a grandfather’s responsibility to financially support a grandchild arises only under two specific conditions:

The child’s father must be unable to provide financial support due to poverty. and the grandfather must be financially well-off.

Proper Procedure for Maintenance Claim against Grandfather

The court clarified a key point: it cannot directly enforce a maintenance decree issued against the father against the grandfather. If the father’s assets cannot be located to execute the decree, the grandchild must file a separate lawsuit against the grandfather in the Family Court. This ensures the grandfather has a chance to defend himself and present evidence regarding his financial situation.

Case Analysis and Findings about Maintenance

The court determined that Bashir Ahmad had no involvement in the initial suit for maintenance against his son. Therefore, the attachment of his property to enforce the decree against the son was declared illegal. Consequently, the court allowed Bashir Ahmad’s appeal and reversed the orders attaching his property. However, the original decree against the son remains enforceable against his assets. The minor child still retains the right to file a separate suit for maintenance against his grandfather in the Family Court, following the proper legal procedures.


This judgement upholds the right to a fair trial for grandparents. Only after proper legal proceedings can they be forced to pay child maintenance. It also clarifies the distinct legal steps required to establish a grandfather’s obligation to support his grandchild.

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