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Cases related to custody of children should be decided on priority
C Shamilakumari Vs P Chandrasekar
O.S.A. No. 142 of 2022
About/from the judgment:
The High Court recently held that cases relating to the custody of minor children should be decided by courts as expeditiously as possible, since long pendency in such cases could seriously prejudice the interest of children.
The Court made the observation while hearing an appeal against an order of a trial court, wherein a custody dispute was finally decided after a period of six years.
“The delay in deciding such petitions may probably prolong the harassment or trouble, which the minor children are subjected to. Thus, the Courts are bound to decide the custody petitions as early as possible, by ascertaining the interest of the children”, the bench said.
The mother stated that since 2016, she had not been allowed to meet her children. She also highlighted that the children were not in the father’s care but at his sister’s house.
While hearing the case, the Court found that the lower court did not conduct a deeper enquiry into the children’s state of mind. It was the bench’s opinion that the children’s psychological aspect as well as the real interest involved should have been considered.
“Courts are not expected to grant custody of minor children in a routine manner, merely based on allegations and counter allegations set out in the petition and counter affidavit,” the High Court said.
The Court also stated that the lower court had failed to consider the fact that the respondent was not looking after the children, but had left them at his sister's house. It was stated that there was no reason for this when the mother of the children was capable of providing a decent life to them.
"When the mother of the minor children is also capable of providing a better and decent living to the children as she is working as a Head Constable in Police Department and drawing a decent salary, there is no reason, whatsoever, to allow the children to be brought up by the sister of the respondent/father," the order recorded.
Therefore, the minor girls were produced before the court. Both the girls then pleaded against giving their custody to the father, and informed the bench that they were beaten up.
On observing their desire to go with their mother, the Court directed that the minor’s custody be granted to their mother immediately.
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