Declaring the father to be a habitual drunkard, who has developed a virtual detachment to his son, a Delhi court handed over custody of the six-year-old child to his mother.
"It has become evident that the respondent has no time for the minor child and remains outside the house till 2am and is a habitual drunkard," said Gautam Manan, guardian judge.
Laviral and Sunita got married in January 2005. Soon after their son, Mohit, was born their relationship turned sour, and they parted ways. Laviral pursued litigation to win custody of his child, but never participated in any court proceeding. The court observed he had filed an affidavit to claim custody.
"The respondent (Laviral) has filed an affidavit on record but he did not enter a witness box to lead his evidence. He did not even pay the cost imposed on him to lead evidence and as such his right to lead evidence was closed by an order dated July 22, 2011," said the judge.
The court noted that Laviral had also become a regular defaulter in not paying monthly maintenance to his wife, as per court orders. "The respondent owes maintenance arrears, which run into lakhs of rupees. He did not pay these despite several court orders."
Outraged by his conduct, the judge said, "The conduct of the respondent (Laviral) during the course of the trial shows that he is not interested in the custody of the child. He neither cross examined the petitioner (Sunita) nor led his own evidence to prove that he is interested in custody of the child."
"In light of the aforesaid discussion I am of the considered view that the paramount welfare of the child is with the petitioner (Sunita)," the judge said.
(Names have been changed to protect identity.)