Law panel moots joint custody for minors in divorce cases

Pitching for the removal of superiority of one parent over the other, the Law Commission on Friday recommended joint custody of minors to both parents in case of a divorce, saying Indian custody laws must change with the times.

The commission’s recommendations assume significance as in India the idea of shared parenting is still new to custody jurisprudence.

“Neither the father nor the mother of a minor can, as of a right, claim to be appointed by the court as the guardian unless such an appointment is for the welfare of the minor,” it said in its report submitted to the Law Ministry on Friday.

Call for amendments

It said wherever possible, courts should now grant joint custody of minors. Recommending changes in the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act and the Guardians and Wards Act, the panel said even after the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Gita Hariharan v. Reserve Bank of India case, the mother can become a natural guardian during the lifetime of the father only in exceptional circumstances.

“This is required to be changed to fulfil the principles of equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution,” the law panel said.

The commission said the amendments were necessary in order to bring these laws in tune with modern social considerations.

The two draft Bills proposed by the panel to amend the existing laws also deal with removal of preference for the father as the natural guardian under Hindu law.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 6:34:18 PM |

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