Move away from old child custody laws, says Mumbai court

  • Charul Shah, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jun 04, 2015 17:00 IST

In a landmark ruling that could set a precedent on child custody, a Mumbai family court laid down a parenting plan — even detailing how to deal with vacations and festivals — for a doctor-nurse couple fighting over the custody of their eight-year-old daughter.

In the recent ruling, the court even said the laws on custody and parenting should evolve with time. “The time has come to give up the archaic mindset … to think that only one parent is better than the other to take care of the child,” the court said in its order.

The court’s ruling relied on the latest law commission report, which emphasises the need to reform guardianship and custody laws in India.

The ruling came two days after the report was made public on May 25.

Calling the laws by which custody is currently decided as archaic, the court pointed out that they were made 125 years ago.

“Society is evolving at a fast space ... a new India is adopting new ethos and new concepts. The standard set in 1890 by the British cannot be made applicable directly to litigants of this 21st century.”

Indian women did not work in 1890, the court said. However, women today earn and make their own living.

Instead of focusing on who the better parent was, we should think of how both parents can behave in a way that will benefit the child the most, the court said.

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