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Court steps in to help child bond with grandmother PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Indian Express   

Custody row: A child, drawn into a custody battle involving his or her close relatives, needs to understand the significance of all blood relations as it is imperative for normal growth observed a city court. The same court, in a breach of convention, had earlier handed the custody of 10-year-old Khushi (name changed) to her grandparents and not to her mother.

Deciding on the custody petition in July this year, Additional District Judge (ADJ) Kamini Lau had held that the interest of the child would override the long-established notion that a mother was the best guardian. The strong emotional bond between grandparents and grandchildren in traditional Indian homes could be not ignored, the court had then noted.

When mother approached the court, contending she wanted to spend time with Khushi during her winter vacation neither the girl nor her grandparents were willing.

ADJ Lau gave the child a chamber hearing to get to the root of her reluctance. She also tried to counsel her on significance of their relationship. After spending time with the child, ADJ Lau mentioned in her order, "During my interaction with the child, it has been observed that Khushi needs to be counselled."

The court subsequently identified a few persons who could objectively do so. Two persons, the principal of Khushi's school and a priest from a church, who were acquainted with the litigation and used to spend time with the child, were deemed suitable.

"The assistance of the principal and reverend is solicited, who in the opinion of the court would be in a position to provide the necessary advice and counselling to the child," wrote ADJ Lau in her order on Saturday.

Approving the request of the mother, the judge held, "She being the natural guardian cannot be deprived of visitation rights."

It was decided that Khushi would spend four days during the last week of December with her mother and brother. After the death of her father in 2004, Khushi stayed with her grandparents while her brother was with her mother. It was Khushi's wish coupled with societal and economic factors that had prompted the court to give her grandparents custody.


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