The Punjab and Haryana High Court has refused to grant the interim custody of a minor child to his biological mother on the ground that the wish and aspirations of the child are paramount considerations for determining the issue of custody.

A Single Bench of Justice Sureshwar Thakur observed, “… at this stage, prima facie, the petitioner is not entitled to the interim custody of the minor child, rather the co-respondents No. 5 and 6, who are jointly expressed by the Child Welfare Committee, Sirsa and, also by this Court, to give the maximum care givings to the minor child, who but has also accepted them to be his parents. Thus, when the wish and aspirations of the child, is but, the paramount consideration for determining the issue of the custody of the minor child, thereupon the said expressed aspiration(s) is but to be revered. Preeminently when the said paramount consideration, may countervail the claim of the biological parent to assume the temporary custody over the minor child.”

The Bench noted that the welfare and upkeep, and, the necessity of purveying the best caregiving, to the minor child are the imperative or paramount considerations for determining the rival contestants’ claim, for theirs' assuming either the interim or the ultimate custody of the minor child.

Advocate Bawa Karanveer represented the petitioner while Advocates P.S. Jammu, Jannat Duhan, and Sartaj Singh Narula represented the respondents.

In this case, the petitioner was the biological mother of the minor child and the minor child was in the custody of the respondents who became impleaded as such through an order made by the High Court. The respondents assumed the custody of the said child and the petitioner was a disciple of one of the respondents, and since she had divorced her previous husband, the said respondent persuaded her to marry his disciple.

The marriage was solemnized and during that time the custody of the child was handed over to the said respondent by the petitioner via Annexure to be signed by her. However, the petitioner submitted that the said document was false and forged and further denied the contents and such a denial was left open to be made before the civil court for claiming the ultimate or final custody of the minor child.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of the counsel asserted, “… if evidence prima facie surges forth but demonstrative qua the minor child becoming abandoned or becoming deprived of love and affection, by his biological parents, and, or obviously, upon, interactions being made by the Court with the minor child, he reveals his unwillingness to join the company of his biological parents, rather expresses his desire to stay in the company of those persons, who on his purported abandonment have assumed custody over him. Thus, in that situation may be, the biological parents becoming not entitled to receive the interim custody of the minor child.”

The Court said that the handing over the interim custody of the minor child but after confirming the order made by it is made subject to the determination of the ultimate custody of the minor child rather than being made by the Courts or authority hence holding the able vested jurisdiction to do so.

“Nothing in this order shall be treated as an expression of any opinion on the merits of the case, so as to bind or influence the Courts or authority rather holding the able vested jurisdiction to make an adjudication on the relevant suit or petition, if any, so filed hereafter by the petitioner”, concluded the Court.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the plea.

Cause Title- Manisha Maheshwari v. State of Haryana and others (Neutral Citation: 2023:PHHC:049627)

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