Keywords- Mother, Child’s welfare, Morally bad, Society, Kerala High Court.
The Kerala High Court recently made an important observation regarding child custody cases. In a case [Aneesh F v Shefeekmon KI], the court stated that a mother should not be deemed unfit for the welfare of the child solely based on society’s perception of her moral character.
The court emphasized that societal notions of morality are subjective and may not necessarily reflect the true dynamics of a parent-child relationship. When considering child custody, the primary factor that should be assessed is the welfare of the child. Even if a mother is deemed morally bad by society, it does not automatically mean she is unfit to care for her child.
The case before the court involved a mother challenging the family court’s decision to grant sole custody of the child to the father. The family court’s reasoning was based on the mother’s alleged elopement with another person, which it believed would negatively impact the child’s welfare.
During the proceedings, the mother explained that she had to leave her marital home due to a strained relationship with her husband. Her father also informed the court that she had gone with a friend of her brother to create an appearance of elopement, as a means to escape the marriage. However, the husband maintained that she had eloped with another man.
The High Court expressed its disapproval of the family court’s judgment, stating that it was wrong to assume that the mother’s actions automatically made her unfit for the child’s welfare. The court emphasized that leaving the matrimonial home and being seen with someone else should not lead to assumptions of immoral behavior or pleasure-seeking.
As a result, the High Court overturned the family court’s decision and granted cyclical custody to both parents. It determined that it was in the best interest of the child to have shared custody, with the mother having custody on alternate Fridays from 5 pm to the following Friday at 5 pm. The Court ordered the handover and return of the child to take place at the premises of the family court in Alappuzha.
In summary, the Kerala High Court’s ruling emphasized that a mother’s perceived moral character should not automatically determine her suitability for child custody. The focus should primarily be on the welfare of the child, taking into account the specific circumstances of each case.
Written by- Anjali Sudha, College name – Haridev law college, Kashipur., Semester- 6th sem an intern under Legal Vidhiya