Friday, January 21, 2011

Child custody: nothing can come between father and kids, says court

Nothing can come in the way of children longing for their father’s company, a city court observed while dismissing a plea filed by a woman seeking to prevent her estranged husband from having their children’s custody every weekend.
Sushma (name changed) had appealed against a magistrate’s custody order in the sessions court on grounds that her husband had hired a private detective to track her and, hence, he should not be allowed custody of their two kids.
“The act of the respondent (father) in any manner does not effect the rights of the children to have the love, care and affection of their father,” said Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) V K Bansal. “Though it has come on record that the respondent had appointed a private detective, who was following the appellant, there is nothing on record to debar the respondent from having the custody of the children,” said ASJ Bansal.
Referring to her husband’s conduct, the woman had alleged that even otherwise the order lacked legality, as there was no provision in The Protection Of Women From Domestic Violence Act for deciding as to who could have the custody of children caught between warring parents.
Countering her, Rajesh (name changed), maintained that the children were allowed to be with him from Friday to Monday morning every week, only after their kids had told the magistrate they wanted to spend time with him. It is the welfare of the children and not the wishes of the parents that should guide a court while deciding on such sensitive issues, said Rajesh, a resident of Greater Kailash.
After hearing arguments and going through the lower court’s record, ASJ Bansal found force in Rajesh’s argument. The court observed that the magistrate had mentioned in his order that the children were interested in staying with their father from Friday evening to Monday morning and said that while deciding the custody, the “paramount” consideration was the welfare of the kids.
Responding to Sushma’s argument regarding her husband hiring a detective, the court stated that it might be a vital contention for deciding other matters but as far as the question of children’s custody was concerned, their welfare and wish were foremost. “In view of the fact that the magistrate passed the order on the wishes of the children, I found that he had rightly decided the issue,” said ASJ Bansal.

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