Not squeezing into mould as per hubby’s need no decisive issue for lady to lose kid’s custody- The New Indian Categorical

by PTI

BILASPUR: Quashing a family court’s order that granted custody of a child to the father, the Chhattisgarh High Court has observed that if a woman “does not squeeze into the mold” as per the desire of her husband, it does not become a decisive factor for her to lose the custody of their child.

A division bench of Justices Goutam Bhaduri and Sanjay S Agarwal, while delivering the judgment in a case related to the custody of a 14-year-old boy, also said the character certificate by the society’s few members with “ostrich mindset” should not be allowed to decide the character of a woman.

The judgment, which was passed on March 28, was uploaded on the high court’s website on Monday, according to which the custody of the child was granted to his mother, the woman’s lawyer Sunil Sahu said on Wednesday.

The couple had got married in 2007 and their son was born in December the same year.

They got divorce with mutual consent in 2013, following which the custody of the child was given to his mother, a resident of Mahasamund district, he said.

“In 2014, the woman’s husband, who hails from Raipur district, filed an application in Mahasamund district family court seeking the custody of the child on the ground that the woman is in company of different male and used to travel along with other male member and her attire was not befitting to which would reflect that she had lost her chastity.

The man also said, if the child is kept in her custody, there would be an ill effect on his mind,” Sahu said.

The family court in 2016 had handed over the custody of the child to his father, he said.

The woman then challenged the family court’s order citing it was passed only on the basis of assumption, which requires interference.

Setting aside the family court’s order, the high court said, “…The evidence on behalf of father, it appears that the witnesses have stated according to their own opinion and thought. If the lady is required to do a job that too in the field for her livelihood, naturally she would be required to move from one place to other and only because of the fact that she is required to rub her shoulder with public at large or male ieto accompany them in the car, there cannot be an inference that she has lost her chastity.”

“Only soon oral statement is made that she is addicted to consume liquor and smoke, etc. It is important to set a red line when the attack is made to assassinate the character of the lady. The statement of witnesses of plaintiff would show that they are largely influenced by the attitude of women as she wears jeans and T-shirt along with the fact that she is marching along with male members of society,” it said.

We are afraid that if such ill-conceived exercise is given a spotlight, then to protect the right and freedom of women would be a long arduous battle.

If the wife does not squeeze into the mold as per desire of husband, it would not be a decisive factor to lose custody of the child by her, the high court observed.

“By attacking the character of the wife to impress upon that it would have an adverse impact on the mind of the child, the degree of nature of evidence should have been much more and severe to hold that continuous a kind of behavior of wife would be detrimental to the interest of child.

The character certificate by few of the society members, who might have ostrich mind set, should not be allowed to decide the character of a woman and to draw an inference while deciding the custody of the child that because of the behavior of mother it would have an adverse impact on the mind of the child,” it said.

The high court also granted visitation and contact rights to the father and issued directions in this regard.

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