‘Mother’s custody of minor not offence’

Holding that the custody of a minor by his mother cannot constitute an offence, a city court has dismissed the plea of an estranged man, saying even after divorce the mother continues to exercise equal rights on the child, reports Sumit Saxena.
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Updated on Feb 23, 2009 12:18 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | BySumit Saxena, New Delhi

Holding that the custody of a minor by his mother cannot constitute an offence, a city court has dismissed the plea of an estranged man, saying even after divorce the mother continues to exercise equal rights on the child.

“The custody of a minor child by his mother, by any stretch of imagination, even if it is forcible detention, would not constitute any offence,” an additional chief metropolitan Magistrate said.

Mohammed, from east Delhi, had approached the court for his minor son’s custody contending that after divorce his wife Abida (name changed) was not allowing him to visit the boy or live with him. Moreover, she did not even allow the child to go to school, he alleged.

The husband’s counsel argued that under Islamic law, the mother ceased to exercise all her rights and authority in respect of her children after divorce.

“The applicant (husband) himself present in court has denied the existence of any such proposition under Islamic law and has conceded to the fact that even after divorce, the mother continues to exercise equal rights and authority over her children,” the judge said.

Mohammed said his son’s whereabouts were not known since January 8, and wanted the court to issue a search warrant to locate the child at Abida’s residence and set him free from her, but the court dismissed his plea.

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