Kids in father’s custody not in unlawful confinement, guidelines Punjab and Haryana Excessive Courtroom : The Tribune India

Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, May 2

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that children in custody of their biological father cannot be held to be kept in illegal confinement. The assertion by the Division Bench of Justice Augustine George Masih and Justice Sandeep Moudgil came in a case “where the parents were entangled in a matrimonial dispute”.

The judgments assume significance as it implies that habeas corpus petition for a child’s custody was not maintainable against a father for seeking release from “alleged illegal detention”. The bench also made it clear that the custody of the children could not be allowed for settling scores and personal egos of the parents. The welfare of the children was to be kept in mind.

The assertions came as the bench turned down the mother’s plea for one of the children’s custody after holding that the brother and sister were in each other’s company. It would not be in the interest of either of child to separate them from other another when they appeared prima facie to be living happily with the father.

The Bench asserted the mother’s counsel argued vehemently that at least the girl child’s custody may be handed over to her as she was little more than two years. Speaking for the Bench, Justice Moudgil asserted the mother failed to demonstrate and make out a case of better environment and care than being provided by the father.

The father, on the other hand, had exhibited care, love and affection through his acts and during the interaction with a Single Judge of the High Court, adding to the willingness and desire of children to stay with him.

Justice Moudgil added the record indicated that the respondent father had even gone to the extent of staying at his in-law’s house with his wife for the sake of saving the matrimonial life and also to secure the minor children’s future. But the appellant-wife went to various authorities with certain complaints, which lacked any corroborative material. “Even otherwise the respondent is the biological father of both the minor children and cannot be held to be keeping them in illegal confinement by any stretch of imagination.”

The bench was told earlier that the mother had left the matrimonial house as the act of cruelty continued, but was not allowed to take along the minor children. Before parting with the case, the Bench added the Single Judge had directed a decision on her representation /complaint. It was pending with Amritsar Commissioner of Police. “No interference is warranted in as much as the appeal is devoid of any merits and, therefore, the same is dismissed,” asserted the Bench.

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