The High Court of Punjab and Haryana has rejected the plea of a father whose child was with his in-laws after the death of his wife.
“Uprooting a child from a family atmosphere where he has lived for over a year, at a tender age, will not be in his best interest. This despite the fact that the applicant is the father and the natural guardian of the child after the death of the mother ”, observed the magistrate Suvir Sehgal while rejecting an appeal for habeas corpus of the father.
The court was considering the plea filed by a resident of Sonepat, who went to court in February this year to seek custody of his four-year-old son. After disputes between the couple, the woman moved to her parents’ place in Rohtak in July 2020 with her son. She died in December 2020 from cardiac arrest.
“The well-being of the child is a primary consideration and it is the overriding duty of the court to ensure that the child lives in a healthy and pleasant atmosphere,” the court said.
“The petitioner (father) did not bring any documents proving how he intended to care for the child, who is now over four years old and in school. On the other hand, the private respondents live in a common family configuration, ”the court said, noting the observations of the minor’s mother’s family that the child’s grandparents are caring for him.
The child’s grandfather is a retired and retired civil servant. It was also clarified that the child’s unmarried aunt and maternal uncles are also there to take care of him.
The woman’s family appeared to be seeking legal guardianship and permanent custody of the child under the Guardian and Wards Act, 1890, in family court.
The woman’s parents told the court that their daughter, a teacher in Ambala, had been harassed by her husband’s family.
By October 2019 she had started living separately and in July 2020 she moved in with them with her son. The husband never visited his wife and son. In fact, his attitude towards them was that of “the reserve and he showed no desire to keep the child with him”. After the woman’s death, he did not even perform the last rites, they said.
The court stated that it was established that the applicant’s wife and son were living separately and to its allegations that the son was abducted while he went to attend rituals after his wife’s death took place. turned out to be a simple “bald assertion” as a husband, who is a lawyer by profession, did not even press charges about it, except to file a petition, three months later.