Don't bring kids to court, Bombay high court tells couple
Saturday, May 14, 2011, 4:10 IST
Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
The Bombay high court on Friday, admonished a couple fighting for the custody of their two sons during their summer holiday.
Vacation bench of justice Mridula Bhatkar and justice RG Ketkar were hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Shanti Mirchandani (name changed). “It is in the interest of children never to be seen in courts,” they added.
The principal of Prudence International School, Panvel, gave custody of the boys, aged 6 and 9 years, to their paternal uncle Satish (name changed) on a written request by the father Shyam (name changed).Shanti’s advocate Manjula Rao argued that in the absence of the father, the mother is the natural guardian. She said the whereabouts of the children are unknown.
Satish’s advocate countered that Shyam who works in Dubai will be returning to India on May 21, and wants the custody of his children since Shanti had taken them for the past two summer and winter vacations. “She vanishes with the children and deprives their father of meeting them,” he added.Rao submitted that it was done “due to a mutual agreement between the father and mother”.
“You (uncle) have no case. You are not the father,” said justice Bhatkar.“Don’t treat children as stooges to settle your dispute,” she added.
The judges took note of the fact that the Mirchandanis have neither filed a petition for custody of the children nor divorce proceedings for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act. “This is the first petition before this court in respect of custody,” they noted in the order.
In a “workable solution”, the judges directed Satish, who resides in Bhayander, to “peacefully” handover the children to Shanti on Friday evening without the involvement of police.
They took note of Shanti’s undertaking to the court not to take the boys outside the limits of the court’s jurisdiction.Since it is a habeas corpus petition to produce the children, the judges posted the matter to May 23, 2011 with an explicit direction, “Don’t produce the children inside the court.”