Punjab and Haryana High Court
judges Justice Ashok Kumar Verma
and Justice Augustine George Masi
while upholding daughter's custody with the mother in a matter at hand observed that - "there are so many things that a daughter can’t discuss with her father and as such mother is the best person to take care of a daughter at growing age".
It was also opined that during her teen years the daughter looks for mother/a female companion with whom she can share and discuss certain issues comfortably. Background of the case:
[Rajat Agarwal (Father) v. Sonal Agarwal (Mother)]
Judgement by the learned District Judge, Family Court, Gurugram was given against the appellant-father thereby giving the custody of a minor girl, namely, Dishita to the respondent-mother. The Civil Reference arose out the applications filed by the appellant/father-Rajat Agarwal for interim custody of the girl child which were transferred to the High Court from the Family Court vide order dated 5th April 2018.
The Family Court, after hearing both the parties, allowed the petition of the mother vide its judgment dated 30th May 2017 and gave the custody of the minor girl - Dishita to her mother. Hence, the appellant father has filed the appeal under Section 19(1) of the Family Courts Act, 1984. Arguments by appellant:
Arguments By respondent:
- The Appellant/Father/Husband is a practicing lawyer and, inter alia, submitted that the appellant being the father and natural guardian has every right to claim the. custody of his daughter-Dishita. He also contended that he can take care of his daughter properly.
- He further submitted that there would be irreparable damage to the welfare of the minor daughter if she is allowed to remain with the custody of the respondent mother.
- He submitted that the minor girl is in the custody of the respondent-mother since 21.5.2017. He also placed reliance on some cases.
- The learned counsel for the respondent-mother has, inter alia, submitted that the learned Family Court Rightly give the custody of minor girl to the respondent which is in the interest and welfare of the girl child.
The Question before the Court:
- It was also argued that her custody should remain with the mother who is a well educated lady and is capable of providing quality education to her daughter and providing better and safe home for her which is in the interest and welfare of her daughter.
Who should have the custody of an almost now 13 years old female child? Observations of the court:
The court observed that “It is, no doubt, to that father is presumed by the starting is to be better suited to look after the welfare of the child, being normally the working member and head of the family, yet in each case the court as to see primally to the welfare of the child and determining the question of his or her custody.” Further when the court awarded to the evidence adduced by the appellant the court observed that the appellant is very reticent and occlusive type of person who was that the secluded himself on the social circle and friends. It was opined that:
“The appellant had not produced any evidence to demonstrate that the daughter is not happy in the company of her mother i.e. the respondent or her parents. She appears to be in a better position to look after the daughter and provide her quality education and also to maintain her in a proper and congenial manner.”
It was also observed that there was no occasion when the appellant actually interested his parents to look after his daughter and that nothing much is expected of the relations of the child with her grandparents. Further, it was opined that:
“Particularly, the company of a mother is more valuable to a growing up female child unless there are compelling and justifiable reasons, a child should not be deprived of the company of the mother.” Significantly, the Court remarked,
“Mother is a priceless gift, a real treasure and an earnest heartfelt power for a child, especially for a growing girl of the age of 13 years which is her crucial phase of life being the major shift in thinking biologically which may help her to understand more effectively with the help of her mother and at this crucial teen age, her custody with the mother is necessary for her growth.” Final judgment:
Lastly, concluding that all-round welfare and development of Dishita lies with her mother, the Court didn't find any illegality, impropriety, perversity, and irrationality in the impugned judgment of the Family Court. Keeping in view the fact that a child needs the love and affection of both the father and mother, the Court granted the appellant-father, the visitation rights for meeting his daughter. The Court directed that he shall be at liberty to visit the child-Dishita twice a month preferably on 2nd and 4th Saturday(s) at the place and time mutually agreed between the parties. [ READ ORDER]