The man who is accused of driving his wife to commit suicide cannot be handed over the custody of their minor child, the Punjab and Haryana high court has held.
“Culpability of the crime he is accused of would not only emotionally devastate and destruct the growing years of the minor, but will completely compromise her over all mental growth as well,” the bench of Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill observed.
The court was hearing a plea from one Somveer from Hisar in Haryana. He had filed a habeas corpus plea, seeking custody of his three-year-old daughter, alleging that her maternal grandparents had illegally taken away from her and as such, the minor child is in their illegal custody.
He had argued that as per law, the petitioner, being father and natural guardian of the child, is entitled to the custody of the child, but he has been deprived of the same.
The marriage had taken place in November 2017 and his wife committed suicide in December 2021. The FIR also stood registered under the sections of subjecting a woman to cruelty and sections of dowry death. As per the allegations, she had committed suicide on account of torture and harassment caused by the husband for bringing less dowry.
To buttress his claims, he had submitted that he must be considered to be innocent until proven guilty and thus, on that ground he cannot be denied the custody of his child, which he otherwise is legally entitled to.
The bench observed that his plea suffers from fallacy. “The issue of custody of the child is a very sensitive matter and has to be dealt with after taking into consideration the paramount welfare of the child. The petitioner, who is accused of having driven his wife to commit suicide, cannot be granted any equitable relief when it comes to handing him over the custody of the minor child,” the court said, adding that even otherwise, the child is in the custody of the maternal grandparents and maternal uncle and thus, the said people cannot be termed foreigners to the custody of the child.
In the given facts and circumstances, they are the best people to take care of the child, the bench added.
“This court is of the considered opinion that the petitioner, being the accused of having driven his wife to commit suicide, cannot be handed over the custody of the child as such a course of action is not considered to be of paramount welfare of the child, ” the bench said, while dismissing the plea.
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