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Settle custody cases in 3 months: HC PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Saurabh Malik   

Chandigarh: Child custody case pending in the subordinate courts of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh for over six months will now be decided within three months.

Taking cognizance of long delays, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has also empowered the district judges to deal with dereliction, if any, on part of the judicial officer in doing so. The registrar (vigilance), Punjab and Haryana, have been appointed nodal officer for supervising the entire exercise.

Though the exact number of such cases is not immediately known, some of the cases have been pending for over a decade. Among the oldest is a case pending since 1998 in the guardian court in Amritsar.

The directions to adopt proactive approach for aborting “unwarranted delays” came on a petition filed by an Amritsar resident, seeking the custody of his minor granddaughter, following the death of the girl’s parents. The girl is currently with her maternal grandparents. The matter has been pending for over a year now.

Justice SD Anand asserted: The matters pertaining to child custody require utmost and expeditious consideration. In case of embitterment between the estranged spouses, it is the children who actually bear the brunt. They are deprived of simultaneous love and affection of both the parents. It is they who suffer emotionally, and in silence too.

“As matters which are already six months old are concerned, the courts concerned shall ensure their final disposal within three months from the date of this order.

“It will be personal administrative responsibility of the district judge to keep a tab on the progress of the cases falling in the category. If the district judge finds any dereliction on the part of the judicial officer concerned in expeditious disposal of cases of the category, he shall pass appropriate order on the administrative side; and if required, refer the matter to the high court for appropriate order in this context.

“If required, the court shall be entitled to consider duly notified preponement of the priority area litigation of the indicated category....

“If there is any peculiar difficulty experienced by the judicial officer in the final disposal, he shall be under duty to intimate facts hindering the progress to the district judges, who shall pass on that information to the high court,” Justice Anand concluded.


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