Making an exception from the general rule of guardianship, a Delhi court has ordered a woman to hand over the custody of their two children to her ex-husband as she had been involved in an extra-marital relationship and exposed the minors to a “perplexed” state of mind.
Additional District Judge (ADJ) Reetesh Singh emphasised that social and moral values need to be inculcated in children, and when a mother exposes her children to such a relationship, it is better for the welfare of the children to stay with their father.
“Imparting social values and ethics is an extremely important part of parents’ duties. The first and most crucial place of learning for children is their home, and their most important tutors are their parents. An adult is free to take any decision, which suits his or her interests. However, when adults are also parents, decisions taken by them regarding their own life also have a bearing on their children,” said the judge.
ADJ Singh said the court was not questioning the woman’s decision to leave the father of her children — now aged 7 and 3 — and marry another man as she is an adult, but an extra-marital relationship was not in the interest of the children.
The couple married in 2002, but following severe differences, they separated seven years later. A court in Amritsar had passed a decree of divorce in June last year. The woman then married the man with whom she had allegedly been in a relationship.
“Choosing to indulge in an extra-marital affair and exposing her children to it would have left a mark on the children’s minds. In the opinion of this court, they would certainly have been confused regarding the marital status of their parents when she indulged in an affair with another man during the time she was married with the petitioner. In the opinion of this court, children’s father would be in a better position to impart social and ethical values to the minor children rather than their mother,” held the court.
Allowing the father’s petition, seeking custody of their two children from his ex-wife, the court said it was conscious of the law that ordinarily the custody of minor children should be with their mother.
The court also found substance in the father’s contention that children would find more stability with him considering he had his own house in a village near Amritsar, while their mother lived in a one-room accommodation in one of Delhi’s slum areas.
“It (husband’s house) would be a much better environment for the children, when compared to the woman’s residence in a slum cluster,” said ADJ Singh.
The court also passed necessary orders of visitation for the woman and asked the father to let her meet the children in Amritsar after due intimation.