“There is no mistake that is unpardonable and no agony that is unbearable,” Justice P. Velmurugan of the Madras High Court said on Wednesday, September 27, 2023 persuading an estranged couple to bury their differences for the sake of their five-year-old son rather than let the innocent child suffer because of having been born to egoistic parents.
Hearing a divorce plea, the judge told the couple that separation before giving birth to a child was different from doing so after having a child. “What right do we have to deny the love of both parents to our children and let the kids suffer at the hands of the heartless society that we live in,” the judge asked.
When the father of the child told the court that he had been subjected to great mental agony by his estranged wife, the judge said, “I don’t dispute that. You may have undergone such an agony. No one is going to come to court and pay thousands of rupees to the lawyers without genuine suffering. My simple question is what mistake did your child commit?”
The judge asked the man to think about the amount of trauma the child would have to undergo if he was to be brought up by a single parent. “No amount of visitation rights, once a month or even once a week, can compensate the effervescent presence of the parents right beside the children until they grow up, get married and settle in life,” he said.
“You may say that you will bring up your son like a king if the custody is given to you and she may say that she can bring him up like a diwan if he is with her. You may individually provide a high-class life for the child and put him in five-star schools but what is the point in spending money if the child is not going to be happy?” he said.
The judge also asked the child’s father not to remain under a wrong impression that it was only he who had a problem with his wife and all other couples were living merrily. “Ninety percent of the couples, be it an arranged marriage or love marriage, find themselves incompatible after marriage but they make themselves compatible for the sake of their children,” he said.
Making it clear that the court could only persuade and not force anyone to live together, Justice Velmurugan asked the father to give a deep thought to the issue for two days and come back with an answer by Friday on the possibility of rejoining his wife, especially when she had agreed to live together in the interest of the minor boy.
“Having begotten a child, you have a moral duty to ensure his good upbringing, too. Now you have to take a decision as to whether your ego is bigger than your child’s future. I hope you will take the right decision,” the judge said before adjourning the hearing by two days for the father to ponder over the issue before taking a final call.