Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Welfare of child is of utmost importance in giving custody: SC


Welfare of child is of utmost importance in giving custody: SC

New Delhi, Sept 14 (PTI) Though father is the natural guardian, maternal grand parents or other relatives can be given custody of the child as "welfare of the minor" is of paramount consideration, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan in a judgement set aside a Bombay High Court order and entrusted the custody of a minor to maternal grandparents as the father had re-married within a short period of the death of his first wife and was also not in a proper position to look after the child.

"One thing is clear that in a matter of custody of a minor child, the paramount consideration is the "welfare of the minor" and not rights of the parents or relatives under a statute which are in force. The word "welfare" used in Section 13 of the Act 1956(Hindu Guardians and Wards) has to be construed literally and must be taken in its widest sense.

The Bench passed the judgement while allowing the appeal filed by the child''s maternal grandfather Shyamrao Maroti Korwate challenging the High Court''s decision to entrust the custody to the father Deepak Kisanrao Tekam.
The apex court said it is true that under the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 the father is the guardian of the minor child until he is found unfit to be a guardian of the minor.

"Though father is the natural guardian in respect of a minor child, taking note of the fact that welfare of the minor is of paramount consideration inasmuch as the respondent-father got married within a year after the death of his first wife Kaveri and also having a son through the second marriage, Justice Sathasivam, writing the judgement, said.

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