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Grandmother, not dad, wins child’s custody PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Dhananjay Mahapatra   

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has waded in and restored a young girl to the waiting arms of her doting granny, preventing her widower father, who had remarried, from naturally claiming custody of his daughter.

Anjali Kapoor, whose daughter died at childbirth on May 20, 2001, had tended loving to the prematurely born infant all these years only to find the Madhya Pradesh high court snatch away the eight-year-old and give her to the father, who had married another woman since the death of his first wife.

The high court had contended the grandmother should give the child to her father as it thought the death of the grandfather was made her financially too weak to bring up a kid. It said, “For better upbringing and welfare of the child, her custody should be entrusted to her father.’’ That’s when the grandma moved the Supreme Court in appeal.

An SC Bench comprising Justices Tarun Chatterjee and H L Dattu ruled that a granny’s love couldn’t be weighed in such stark balance. What also tilted the balance was that the father Rajiv Baijal did not respond to the SC notice or ads in newspapers. The grandmother said her son-in-law had remarried and was not interested in the custody of the girl.

The question before the court was — who is the fit and proper guardian of the minor in these circumstances? It noticed that Kapoor had been taking care of the girl since birth, when she had to be put in intensive care in hospital, till today.

Justice Dattu said: “The grandmother has bestowed her attention throughout for the welfare of the reminiscent of her only daughter, that is the minor child, which is being dragged from one end to another on the so-called perception of judicial precedents and the language employed by the legislatures on the right of natural guardian for the custody of the minor child.’’

For Kapoor, the apex court decided to carve out the exception from the woods of the judicial rulings and the provisions of law, for the little girl had been with the grandmother since her birth resulting in “a strong emotional bonding between the two’’. Justice Dattu said: “Appellant being a woman herself can very well understand the needs of the child. It also appears that appellant, even after her husband’s demise, is financially sound as she runs her independent business.’’


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