Further-marital affair no floor to disclaim custody of kid to mom: HC

A woman’s extramarital affair is not a reason to deny custody of her child in a marital dispute as it cannot be concluded that she will not be a good mother, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled.

The court also found that it is quite common in a patriarchal society to defame a woman’s moral character, and these allegations are mostly made without any basis.

The order came after a habeas corpus petition by a woman in the Fatehgarh Sahib district of Punjab, who sought custody of her four-and-a-half-year-old daughter from her estranged husband, who is an Australian citizen.

Judge Anupinder Singh Grewal admitted the woman’s application but ordered that custody of the girl be transferred to her mother, who currently lives in Australia.

The petitioner’s estranged husband had alleged that the woman was in an extramarital relationship with a relative.

“Aside from the bleak allegation in the petition, no supportive material has been presented to this court. It would be worth noting that in a patriarchal society, it is quite common to slander a woman’s moral character. Most of the time, these allegations are made without any basis or basis, ”the court said.

“Even assuming that a woman is or has been in an extramarital relationship, that alone cannot lead to the conclusion that she would not be a good mother to deny her custody of her child,” the judge said in a ruling from May 10th.

In the present case, however, these allegations against the petitioner, which are completely unfounded, are not considered relevant to the decision on custody of the minor child under the order.

“The child would need the love, care and affection of its mother for its development in the formative years. Support and guidance from the mother would also be essential in adolescence. The mother is the child’s natural guardian until the age of five under Section 6 of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act of 1956, ”the judge wrote in his order.

In the petition, the woman stated that she married in 2013. Her husband was an Australian citizen and she later moved to Australia.

The couple had a daughter in June 2017. They later developed marital differences.

The petitioner claimed that her husband took her daughter with him when she arrived in India in January 2020.

The child’s father asserted that the minor had been living with him and his parents in a warm family environment for almost a year and that the change of custody at that point was not in the child’s interest, especially if the petitioner lived alone and was therefore unable to do so would be to take care of the child.

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