SC moved by child's tears, hands over his custody to father

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New Delhi, Jun 5 (UNI) Moved by the tears of a ten-year-old boy, the Supreme Court has decided to hand over the custody of the child to the father staying at Allahabad.

A bench comprising Justices C K Thakkar and D K Jain, while deciding a dispute between the divorced parents for custody of the child, in its judgement said, ''We are convinced that the dislocation of the child at this age from Allahabad where he has grown up in sufficiently good surroundings would not only impede his schooling, it may also cause emotional pain and depression to him.'' ''During the course of hearing on one of the dates, when we had not yet interviewed the child, we had suggested that it would be better if the child could stay with his mother for some more time,'' the court added.

" However, upon hearing us, he started crying and whining and showed reluctance to go with the mother. Watching his reaction we dropped the proposal," the court observed.

The apex court, while dismissing the petition of the mother who is a teacher, observed, "under these circumstances and bearing in mind the paramount consideration of the welfare of the child, we are convinced that child's interest and welfare will be best served if he continues to be in the custody of the father." Justice Jain writing the 16-page judgement for the bench also noted,"in our opinion for the present, it is not desirable to disturb the custody of the boy, and, therefore, the order of the high court giving his exclusive custody to the father with visitation rights to the mother deserves to be maintained.

''We feel that the visitation rights given to the appellant by the High Court, as noted above also do not require any modification.

We therefore affirm the order and aforesaid extracted directions given by the High Court,'' the court added.

''It will, however, be open to the parties to move this court for modification of this order or for seeking any direction regarding the custody and well-being of the child, if there is any change in the circumstances.'' The couple got married on April 18, 1996 and the boy was born to them on May 28,1998 and the couple separated on September 12, 2002.

UNI SC SV AS1646

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