Children should not be brought to court, remarked the Bombay high court while reprimanding parents fighting for the custody of their two sons, aged six and nine, during the summer vacation.
A vacation bench of justice Mridula Bhatkar and justice Rajesh Ketkar while hearing a habeas corpus (produce person in court) petition filed by the mother also took note of the fact that the estranged couple had still not initiated divorce proceeding.
Bhatkar said: “Don't bring children to court…. It is in the interest of children never to be seen in courts.”
The mother had filed a habeas corpus after the principal of the children’s school in Panvel allowed their paternal uncle to take the kids away after producing a written request sent by the father who is settled in Dubai.
Manjula Rao, advocate for mother, argued that in the absence of the father, the mother was the natural guardian.
The uncle opposed the petition saying that the father would be returning from Dubai on May 21 and would like to spend the vacation with his children. He claimed that the mother had taken the children away during the previous two summer and winter holidays.
Rao, however, pointed out that it was done ‘due to a mutual agreement between the father and mother’.
The court directed the uncle, who resides in Bhayander, to hand over the custody of the boys to the mother by evening without involving the police. “You [uncle] have no case. You are not the father,” Bhatkar said.
Noting that this was the first petition seeking custody of children, Bhatkar remarked: “Don't treat children as stooges to settle your dispute.”
The mother has given an undertaking that she will not take the boys outside the limits of the court’s jurisdiction. Keeping the matter for hearing on May 23, the judges have directed that the children should not be produced in the court despite it being a habeas corpus petition.