The Delhi High Court has refused to hand over the custody of a two-year-old child to his father considering his tender age. It has upheld the order of the Family Court granting custody of the child to his mother.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna held, “The impugned Order is well-reasoned and balanced giving cogent reasons for handing over the custody of the infant child, who is barely two years old, to the respondent/mother. At the same time, in the interest of the child, the appellant/father has been allowed overnight custody of the child, twice a month. … Accordingly, considering the tender age of the child, the impugned Order cannot be faulted.”

The Bench took note of the fact that the appellant and his family members visited the parental house of the respondent and forcibly snatched the custody of the child.

Advocate Ravi Rai appeared on behalf of the respondent i.e., the mother.

In this case, an appeal under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 read with Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 was filed by the appellant/father against the Order passed by the Judge, Family Courts, Tis Hazari, Delhi vide which the custody application filed by the respondent/mother under Sections 7 and 25 of the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 seeking custody of the child was allowed. It was argued on behalf of the appellant that it was the respondent who had herself abandoned the child and left the matrimonial home when the child was barely three months old.

The child was being looked after by the appellant. Hence, the prayer was made that the Family Court’s order be set aside and the custody of the child be returned to the appellant. During the course of the arguments, it emerged that the appellant had married the respondent (his second wife) in the year 2020, while his divorce from his first wife took place only in the year 2023. At the time of the marriage of the appellant and the respondent, the first marriage of the appellant with his first wife was subsisting.

The High Court in view of the above facts noted, “It is an admitted fact that the appellant got married to respondent on 29.06.2020 and one son was born on 14.03.2021. The respondent had claimed that in January, 2022, she was given merciless beatings by the appellant and his family members and she was left at her matrimonial home.”

The Court observed that the Family Court considered the tender age of the child and all other surrounding facts and directed the appellant to hand over custody of the child to the respondent.

“In addition, the appellant/father has been granted overnight custody of the child on first and third Saturday of every month”, also noted the Court.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the order of the Family Court.

Cause Title- Vikram Lal v. Pooja (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:4729-DB)

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