Mumbai: Bombay High Court denies custody to father facing allegations of violent conduct

06 December,2023 05:53 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  mid-day online correspondent

The Bombay High Court, in a recent ruling, deemed it unsafe to grant custody of a minor girl to her father, a 41-year-old UK citizen facing allegations of anger issues and violent conduct

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The Bombay High Court, in a recent ruling, deemed it unsafe to grant custody of a minor girl to her father, a 41-year-old UK citizen facing allegations of anger issues and violent conduct.

The court dismissed the petition filed by the father seeking custody of his three-year-old daughter, who he claimed was illegally brought to India by his estranged wife, newswire PTI reported.

A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Gauri Godse based their decision on the wife's allegations of the man's past physical abuse towards her.

Emphasizing the well-established legal principle that custody decisions should prioritize the best interest of the child, the court stated that returning the child to a foreign jurisdiction must not pose any harm to her physical, mental, or psychological well-being.

The bench asserted, "Considering the past conduct of the petitioner having anger issues, it will not be safe to hand over custody of the child to him."

The court underscored that the allegations of violent and abusive conduct raised concerns about the child's safety and could adversely affect her healthy upbringing.

Also read: Mumbai fire incidents prompt Bombay High Court's stern rebuke to Maharashtra government

While acknowledging a child's right to the company of both parents, the court highlighted that in the midst of parental disputes, the child should not suffer.

The mother, who has been keeping the estranged husband informed about the child's welfare and facilitating video calls between them, was deemed more suitable for the child's care.

The court concluded that, given the child's tender age of three-and-a-half years, she requires the care and affection of her mother. It emphasized that the child's best interest is served by living with her mother in India and rejected the notion that her presence in the country was illegal.

The legal saga began after the couple's marriage in 2018 in the US, with the child born in 2020. Marital disputes led to the couple living separately for six months after the child's birth.

Despite a reconciliation agreement and relocation to Singapore in 2022, the wife returned to India in November 2022, citing safety concerns. The husband, subsequently, sought custody through legal avenues, leading to the recent High Court decision. (With inputs from agencies)

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