Mom wins custody battle in SC
The Supreme Court has allowed a divorced woman to take her minor son to her place of work in Australia, observing that a child cannot be treated as a chattel or article to be shared in equal halves.delhi Updated: Mar 28, 2010 01:18 IST
The Supreme Court has allowed a divorced woman to take her minor son to her place of work in Australia, observing that a child cannot be treated as a chattel or article to be shared in equal halves.
Brushing aside her ex-husband’s objections, a bench headed by Justice G.S. Singhvi said the woman could not be compelled to decide between her career and the child as she was entitled to professional growth.
Noting that she has landed a better job in Australia, the bench said: “Her autonomy on her personhood can not be curtailed by a court on the ground of a prior order of custody of the child. Every person has a right to develop his or her potential. In fact, a right to development is a basic human right.”
The bench added, “A child is not a chattel, nor is he/she an article of personal property to be shared in equal halves. It dismissed the appeal filed by the father, Harish (name changed) to restrain his ex-wife from taking the son to Australia. He had challenged the high court order dismissing his plea against the trial court’s decision to allow the mother to take the child to Australia.
Harish had contended that according to the divorce decree, they were to stay in Delhi with visitation rights for the husband.
But the court sought to emphasise that a child’s welfare had to be the paramount consideration in all custody proceedings. It directed that before leaving for Australia, the mother, Sanchi (name changed) should file an undertaking to the satisfaction of the additional district judge –01 (West), Delhi, within four weeks.
While allowing her to take the child to Australia, the ADJ had directed Sanchi to bring the child back to India for allowing Harish visitation rights twice a year — between December 18 and January 26 and from June 26 to July 11.
“In a matter relating to custody of a child, this court must remember that it is dealing with a very sensitive issue,” the apex court said.
Custody orders cannot be made rigid and final and can altered and moulded keeping in mind the needs of the child, it said.