Guj HC grants custody of COVID-19 orphan to aunt as a substitute of grandparents
The Gujarat High Court granted the custody of a 5-year-old boy, who lost his parents to COVID-19 last year, to his maternal aunt instead of his paternal grandfather, who had fought for the same citing that the child was more comfortable living with him.
In an order passed on Monday, Justices Sonia Gokani and Mauna Bhatt observed that the child’s unmarried maternal aunt — a central government employee in her 40s who lives in a joint family — will be better suited to fulfill his needs.
The paternal grandfather of the orphaned boy had moved a habeas corpus petition, claiming that the child’s maternal aunt was not allowing him to meet his grandson since the parents died of coronavirus in May and June last year. The child’s maternal aunt has however alleged that the petitioner’s family was unhappy with the love marriage of the child’s parents, as they belonged to different castes and this caused them hardships while settling in Ahmedabad. She further claimed that she had given the boy’s parents her house to live in the city, and also helped them with medical expenses for their COVID-19 treatment.
The petitioner, on the other hand, claimed that being a retired Central Government employee, he was better placed to take care of the child, who is very attached to him and his wife. He and his wife are in good health, with a son working in Coimbatore and a daughter settled in Chennai.
While handing over the child’s custody to his maternal aunt, the court said it expects her to provide the paternal grandparents the right to meet their grandchild on a regular basis and allow him to visit them during vacations and holidays.
”Needless to say, respondents (maternal side) are expected to act as a bridge between the corpus and his paternal grandparents so that emotional bonding remains intact,” the court observed.
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