Being rich not reason enough for child custody
Earning well cannot be the reason for a parent to seek custody of a child, the Bombay high court has ruled.
The order came on an appeal filed by a Muslim from rural Maharashtra, who was denied custody of her 12-year-old son by a district court. The woman, who was divorced by her Bahrain-based husband, had remarried and also had a son. The husband, too, married; he had two daughters.
The district court in its 2004 judgment said: "Financially, the applicant (father) and his parents are well based. They have no male child for propagation of their race and vansh. So, they will love the minor child. Also, the parents of the father and his sisters are settled in Bahrain. The child's mother is not well-educated or better employed. She has no constant source of income. She is under the command of her second husband and due to financial crises, would not be able to provide amenities or a good education to the child."
The woman challenged the district court's order the same year. She alleged that her first husband had deputed his parents to India for taking custody of their son. She said that the parents offered her Rs 2 lakh and also agreed to comply with any demands she would make.
The husband argued that he, a resident of Bahrain, was in excellent financial condition and would be able to provide everything to the son. He contended that his former wife was uneducated and would not be able to care for the son properly. He also contended that his former wife's second husband was ill-treating the son, who was in an unhealthy atmosphere.
The woman's advocate countered the arguments, saying the child had been with the mother for 12 years. He said there was nothing to indicate that the son was being ill-treated by her or her current husband.
Justice Abhay Oka, setting aside the district court's order on May 6, observed: "Considering the tender age of the minor son and considering the fact that all along he has been in the custody of the mother, it will not be in his interest to disturb the custody at this stage. For several years, the son has not been in the company of his father, who resides in Bahrain with his second wife and two daughters."