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‘Child is neither property of father nor that of mother' PDF Print E-mail
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Written by J. Venkatesan   

In custody cases, the child is the property of neither the mother nor the father, the Supreme Court has said.

Deciding the custody of two children of parents, one of them a non-resident Indian, a Bench of Justices Markandey Katju and C.K. Prasad said: “Cases of child custody are not decided on such considerations [whether the child is the property of the father or the mother], but on the consideration of what is in the paramount interest of the welfare of the child.”

The appellant, Paramjit Singh, is the father of Sahir and Ameya , aged 9 and 7. It was alleged that earlier the whole family was living in America, but about five years ago the mother, Ekta Gyani, brought the children to India; for the past five years, they have been residing with their mother in Chandigarh. Paramjit's plea for custody of the children was rejected by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Rejecting his appeal, the Bench said: “We are of the opinion that it will not be in the interest of the welfare of the children to give their custody to their father. It is evident that since the age of 4 and 2 the children have been living with their mother in India. Hence, obviously they must have developed an emotional attachment to their mother. In such circumstances, it will be a terrible psychological trauma if they are torn away from their mother and handed over to their father.”

But the petitioner was entitled to visitation rights, the Bench said. It issued notice to the mother to decide on this question and posted the matter for further hearing on August 19.


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