Custody Disputes Involving Minor Children Shouldn’t Be Decided by Household Elders: Telangana HC


LI Network

Published on: 23 September 2023 at 15:46 IST

The Telangana High Court has emphasized that disputes concerning the custody of minor children should not be resolved by household elders, reiterating the paramount importance of the children’s welfare in such cases.

In a habeas corpus petition filed by a mother seeking the return of her 7-year-old daughter, who she alleged had been illegally abducted and detained by her husband, a division bench consisting of Justice K. Lakshman and Justice K. Sujana heard the case.

The petitioner, the mother, stated that she had married the respondent in 2014, and they had two children, a daughter in 2015 and a son later on. However, disputes arose between them, leading to the filing of a divorce petition in the trial court.

During the divorce proceedings, a panchayat (village council) was convened, and household elders, along with relatives, decided that the elder daughter should reside with her father, while the younger son, being only 9 months old, should remain in the mother’s custody.

The petitioner argued that the respondent worked throughout the day, leaving no one at home to care for their minor daughter. She also expressed concerns that the respondent was attempting to transfer custody of their daughter to his brother.

The respondent countered by alleging that the petitioner was violent and that their daughter did not wish to stay with her mother.

The court noted that numerous factors must be considered when determining the child’s best interests.

“Habeas Corpus proceedings are not intended to justify or examine the legality of custody. Habeas corpus proceedings provide a means for addressing the child’s custody at the discretion of the court,” the court stated.

Considering the child’s tender age of 7 years and the fact that the petitioner was a homemaker, the court deemed it appropriate to award custody of the minor girl to her mother. The respondent was granted the option to seek legal remedies to regain custody of his children.

The Telangana High Court’s decision underscores the importance of prioritizing the welfare of minor children in custody matters and emphasizes that such decisions should be made through Courts rather than by family elders.

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