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Mother knows best

Allahabad High Court
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Allahabad High Court 

Highlights

While granting custody of a minor child to his mother, the Allahabad High Court recently observed that mothers are best suited to take care of very young children

While granting custody of a minor child to his mother, the Allahabad High Court recently observed that mothers are best suited to take care of very young children. The court has based its verdict on not just the arguments of the parents, but also on the conduct of the litigants in this matter. This should be an eye-opener for all. Justice J Munir was dealing with a habeas corpus petition filed by the mother Preeti, who submitted before the Court that she was not being allowed to meet her three-year-old son, and that he was under the 'unlawful' custody of her husband/in-laws.

The mother argued successfully about her consistent income with which she could support her child, but also pointed to the irregular income of her husband. The latter has argued on the good and bad conduct of his wife to emphasise on the point that the child should not be given to the custody of the mother hence. The dominant male view that prevails in the society did not find the acceptance of the court. It rightly observed "it is the precipitate wisdom of generations that a young child's welfare is better ensured in the hands of the mother than the father, or for that matter, anyone else.

It is in keeping with this transcendent experience of mankind that the proviso to Section 6(a) of the Act of 1956 reserves to the mother the right to the child's custody until the age of five years", the judge observed before his verdict. Most admirable here is the fact that the judge did not close his eyes to the happenings around him. He did not confine himself to the points being raised by the learned lawyers of both the parties. He keenly followed the behaviour of the parents and other elders too in the court hall. The Court had the advantage of watching the parties' interaction during the hearing. The Court noticed that the child's father and his grandparents thereof, were a doting father and grandparents to the extent that their affection might become a bane for the child. It hardly needs be said that the welfare of a child consists not only in the care that he is given while young, but the manner he is groomed to become a responsible citizen.

The Court found the overindulgence by the child's father and his grandparents, a possible source of hampering his development and grooming him into a young adult. To the contrary, this Court did not notice anything about the mother's disposition towards her son, which may not augur well for the child's development and overall welfare. Hats off Mr Judge!

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