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Separated at 21 months, Supreme Court gives girl’s custody to mother
The girl was separated from her mother when she was only 21 months old after her parents separated due to matrimonial discord, with the father getting the infant's custody.
New Delhi, Feb 17: An eight-year old girl was united with her mother after over six years by the Supreme Court, which said it was not possible for the child to comprehend the comfort of maternal love while staying with the father. The girl was separated from her mother when she was only 21 months old after her parents separated due to matrimonial discord, with the father getting the infant’s custody.
The mother, a school teacher who was allegedly forced to leave her matrimonial home, contested the custody of her child before a family court, which dismissed her plea. She then challenged the order in the High Court which gave the child’s custody to her and the father visitation rights. The father, an army officer, then challenged the high court order in the apex court. During the proceedings, the girl, how eight years old, told the apex court and the counsellor appointed by it that she wanted to live with her father and did not wish to change her existing environment.
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Her father also contended that the girl was comfortable living with him and he has been taking care of her since the mother left. However, the apex court bench of Justices J Chelameshwar and A K Sikri observed that “a child, who has not seen, experienced or lived in the comfort of the company of the mother is, naturally, not in a position to comprehend that the grass on the other side may turn out to be greener.
“Only when she is exposed to that environment of living with her mother, that she would be in a position to properly evaluate as to whether her welfare lies more in the company of her mother or in the company of her father.” It granted custody of the girl for one year to the mother and asked her to get her admitted in the school in Delhi where she was teaching. Ruling in favour of the mother, the court said it was her misfortune that despite getting a favourable order from the High Court, she was not able to reap its benefit because of the interim orders passed by apex court staying the verdict. (More)
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