Mumbai

HC grants custody of child to father

The Bombay High Court has set aside the family court’s order and granted custody of a 13-year-old boy to his father “in the interest of the child’s health, development and future”.

A Division Bench of Justices A.A. Sayed and P.D. Naik said, “There is nothing to arrive at the conclusion that the father is unfit to look after the child. The child has medical issues and has undergone surgeries. The father being a highly qualified doctor would be in a better position to understand the health condition of the child and take corrective measures in that regard.”

The boy’s parents are doctors and British nationals and got married in 2002. After the boy was born in 2007 with one kidney and undescended testicles, his mother went through post-natal depression and underwent treatment in the U.K. till 2011. The next year, she came to India to stay with her parents. In 2015, she left for the U.K., leaving her son behind with her mother, who was the headmistress of a school for 35 years. The boy’s mother soon faced mental health problems and was placed in a mental institution.

When the father came to India to take the boy back to the U.K., the grandmother refused to part with him. The father then filed a petition in the family court seeking the boy’s custody. The father and his family members were then restrained by a permanent order of injunction from removing the child from the jurisdiction of the court. Granting the child’s custody to the grandmother, the family court said, “The child is with her since January 2013 and since January 2015 she is looking after the child. It is in the interest of the child to stay with the respondent. There is nothing on record to show that she is unfit or the child’s welfare is at stake in her hands acting like a de-facto guardian of the child by dedicating her time for welfare of the child.”

Setting aside the family court’s order, the Bench recorded, “In our view, the overall health, development and better future of the child would lie in the custody of his father who is the natural guardian. The interest and welfare of the child would be best served in the custody of his father.”

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 9:26:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/hc-grants-custody-of-child-to-father/article33145571.ece

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