Punjab and Haryana excessive courtroom grants lady’s custody to mom away for 2 years resulting from Covid
The Punjab and Haryana high court has granted the custody of a four-year-old girl to her mother based in Australia, who could not meet her for two years due to Covid pandemic.
The child’s grandparents had told the court that when the mother visited her in Ambala after two years, the girl refused to go with her. Hence, they did not allow the mother to take the child along.
The girls’ parents are Australian citizens. The child, then two years old, was brought to India by her grandparents in January 2020 and the mother was to follow. However, due to travel restrictions imposed due to the Covid outbreak, the mother could not come. She finally came to India in March 2022.
As per the mother’s plea in the court, she stayed at her in-law’s house for a few days, but as she faced “domestic violence”, she decided to go to her parents’ place in Kurukshetra.
But the child was not allowed to be taken along by her in-laws even after police intervention. Hence, she moved court with habeas corpus plea, seeking custody of the child.
The court observed that as mother stayed away for two years, apparently, for the reasons beyond her control due to this, the child might have stated that she does not wish to go with her mother. “However, in the long term for the benefit and welfare of the child, by no stretch of imagination can it be said that the welfare of the child would be better taken care of by the grandparents vis-à-vis the mother,” the observed court.
The court also turned down the grandparents’ proposal of shared custody, observing that the mother is a resident of Australia and so is the father. Grandparents are in India, the statement of shared parenting is “illogical and unreasonable” and cannot be accepted, it added. “Issues of the education of the child, her health, etc, would arise and these are best dealt with by the mother unless it is shown that the mother is completely incapable of maintaining the minor child,” the court said, directing that child be handed over to the mother within four weeks.
The court observed that the question of the welfare and interest of a minor child has to be judged on the consideration of the acknowledged superiority of the mother’s love and affection for her children.
“The lap of the mother is a natural cradle where the safety and welfare of the child can be assured and there is no substitute for the same. No amount of wealth or mother-like love can substitute for a mother’s love and care and, therefore, maternal care and affection is indispensable for the healthy growth of a child,” it added.