Mother’s illicit affair; custody of minor child given to father


PTI, Feb 11, 2023, 12:46 PM IST

Bengaluru: The High Court of Karnataka has upheld a Family Court order giving the custody rights of a minor child to the father.

The woman’s illicit relationship with another man was the reason the father of the child had sought custody of the minor.

The High Court in its judgment noted that she “has given more importance to the illicit relationship of hers and has neglected the child.” After leaving the matrimonial house with the child, the woman had left the minor child in the custody of her parents in Chandigarh while she continued to stay in Bengaluru with her new partner.

Both the parents are doctors and were divorcees. They did not have any children from their previous marriages. They met on a matrimonial site and married in 2011. A girl child was born to them in 2015.

After a turbulent marriage in which the two filed cases against each other, the woman left the matrimonial home in 2018 along with the child.

The husband, after coming to know of the illicit relationship of his wife filed a case for custody of the child.

“Since the child was growing in an unholy atmosphere in the midst of an illicit relationship between the appellant and her paramour, the respondent started apprehending that the welfare of the child and its future was not safe with the appellant and the child was required to be brought up in a safe and stable environment,” the HC noted.

The Family Court in an order on March 3, 2022 ordered the woman to hand over the custody of the minor child to the husband. She challenged it before the HC.

The HC, however, did not find any merit in her appeal. The Court said the husband has proved the woman was not giving priority to the child.

“The respondent, has successfully proved before the Court that the relationship of the appellant with the said (paramour) was beyond business meetings as sought to be contended by the appellant and she had given more priority to the said relationship of her’s when compared to the welfare and well-being of the child,” the HC noted.

The Court also noticed that the woman was rude.

“The material on record would go to show that the appellant was not only behaving rudely with the respondent and her in-laws, but she also had behaved rudely during the family counselling. She was in the habit of quarrelling with the respondent in public and she was never truthful to the respondent or her in-laws,” the division bench of Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty said in their judgment.

The HC upheld the Family Court order and said, “It is trite law that the courts while considering the question of a minor child’s custody, has to keep in mind the overall well-being of the child and the paramount consideration should be only its welfare. In addition to the moral and ethical welfare, the Court should consider the physical well-being of the child.” The Court granted visiting rights to the woman to meet the child every Sunday and between 10 AM and 1 PM on important festivals and holidays. She will also get custody of the child for 10 days during the summer vacation.

“We hope that the appellant and the respondent in the present case who are qualified doctors and responsible members of the society will realise the mistake committed by them and keeping in mind the interest and welfare of the minor child will come together at least for the purpose of taking care of the welfare of the child,” the HC said.

Dismissing the appeal filed by the woman, the HC said, “The Family Court, in our opinion, has properly exercised its jurisdiction and discretion, and therefore, we are of the considered opinion that the Family Court was fully justified in directing to hand over the custody of the child to the respondent-father.”

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