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Sandeep vs Neelam on 15 October, 2019

FAO-7196-2017 -1-


Decided on : 15.10.2019
Sandeep …… Appellant
Neelam …… Respondent

Present: Ms. Neha Rana, Advocate for
Mr. Abhimanyu Singh, Advocate
for the appellant.

Mr. Manish Soni, Advocate
for the respondent.

Manjari Nehru Kaul, J.

The instant appeal has been preferred by the husband –

Sandeep against the judgment and order dated 06.10.2017 vide which

petition filed by the wife-Neelam under Section 25 of the Guardian and

SectionWards Act, 1890 (for short ‘the Act’) for getting the custody of their minor

children namely Deep and Sanskriti was allowed by the trial Court.

2. A few facts as contained in the petition filed before the Court

below by the respondent-Neelam (mother of the minor children) may be


Marriage between the parties was solemnized on 30.11.2007 as

per Hindu rites and ceremonies. Two children, a son, namely Deep and a

daughter namely Sanskriti were born on 14.10.2008 and 25.05.2011

respectively out of the said wedlock. The respondent-wife would be

subjected to frequent physical and mental harassment by her husband and

his family on account of insufficient dowry. In the month of November,

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2010, she was thrown out of her matrimonial home. Several meetings were

convened thereafter and with the intervention of respectables, the appellant-

husband and his family after admitting to their mistakes brought her back to

the matrimonial home with an assurance that she would not be maltreated in

future. On 25.12.2010, the respondent-wife and her brother were

physically assaulted by the appellant-husband and his family as a result of

which the matter had to be reported to the police. The matter was

compromised and she returned to her parental home with her brother. After

the birth of her daughter, she went back to her matrimonial home but still

there was no change in the behaviour of the appellant-husband and her

in-laws. Yet again her brother along with the respectables of the society

tried to bring about a reconciliation between the parties but it was short

lived as she was mercilessly assaulted by the appellant-husband and his

father, which resulted in a fracture being suffered by her, for which she had

to be hospitalised. A criminal case too was registered under variousSection

Sections of Indian Penal Code including Section 498-A on 04.03.2015. It

was further averred by the respondent-wife that the appellant-husband was a

drunkard and a man of criminal antecedents, who would not even hesitate to

beat her up in front of their children and as such the environment of their

home was most unconducive for the healthy growth and development of the

children. Hence, in these circumstances, the custody of the children should

be handed over to her being a mother and natural guardian of the minor


3. Per contra, the appellant-husband in his reply filed before the

Court below, refuted and categorically denied the allegations of the

respondent. It was submitted that in fact it was the respondent-wife, who

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had left the matrimonial home without his knowledge. The FIR, which had

been registered against him, was in connivance with the police. So much

so, even the medico-legal report pertaining to the injury suffered by the wife

had been fraudulently prepared in collusion with the hospital authorities.

He claimed that the minor children were being well taken care of and were

being showered with all love and affection. He claimed that the children

were extremely attached to his parents. So much so, in pursuance to an

earlier order passed by the Court, the minor children had even refused to

stay with the respondent-wife for more than a night and had in fact returned

to him the following morning.

4. On completion of pleading of the parties, following issues were

framed by the learned trial Court:

1. Whether petitioner is entitled for the custody of minor

children namely Deep and Sanskriti as prayed for? OPP

2. Relief.

5. In order to prove the case, the respondent herself stepped into

the witness box as PW-1 and tendered documents i.e. Ex.P1 to P-5. On the

other hand, appellant stepped into witness box as RW-1 and tendered

certain documents as well.

6. After analyzing the evidence and other material on record, the

Family Court allowed the petition by granting custody of the minor children

to the respondent-wife.

7. We have heard learned counsel for the appellants and perused

the evidence as well as other material available on record.

8. It would be pertinent to mention that during the pendency of

appeal the parties were referred to Mediation and Conciliation Centre of this

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Court to explore the possibility of an amicable settlement, however, it failed

to yield any positive result. The parties along with the children too were

interacted with by this Court.

9. In the case in hand, it would be worthwhile to refer to the

observations of the learned Family Court in the impugned judgment wherein

it has been recorded that during the Court’s interaction with the minor

children, they were extremely uneasy and uncomfortable talking about their

parents, particularly the mother. As per the observations of the learned

Court, it was very obvious and apparent that they had been tutored to come

up with a crammed version qua their mother. The minor children are just

11 years and 08 years old respectively. It is thus, not a very happy situation

and rather unfortunate for children as young as them to be called to the

Court and forced to speak a tutored version rather than what they may have

naturally and actually felt like stating and expressing. A duty is, therefore,

cast on the Court to step in as “Parens patriae” and exercise its discretion

judiciously after considering all the relevant facts and circumstances and in

particular by giving due weightage to the education, health, intellectual

development, physical well being and emotional security of the

child/children. It is not the legal rights alone of a parent or a guardian,

which have to be considered, but only the welfare and welfare of the child

alone, which has to be of paramount consideration while deciding the

question of custody of minor children.

10. We are unable to agree with the submissions of the learned

counsel for the appellant that he has a better claim over the children as the

mother does not have any independent source of income. Going by that

analogy, his financial status is no better than that of the respondent-wife.

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The appellant-husband as per his own admission in the cross-examination as

RW-1 and in an affidavit Ex.P4 furnished by him before JMIC, Sohna in the

complaint under Section 12 of The Protection of Women from SectionDomestic

Violence Act, 2005 stated that he did not have any independent source of

income either and was completely dependent on his father, who is a small

time farmer. So much so, he was unable to even comply with the Court’s

direction to pay Rs.3,000/- as maintenance to the respondent-wife.

11. Hence, in the facts and circumstances of the instant case and

after giving our anxious consideration, we have no reason to differ with the

learned Family Court that the custody of the children cannot be retained by

the appellant-husband. The two minor children are at an impressionable age

and they need a happy and healthy environment for their overall

development and growth.

12. As a sequel to the above discussion, we do not find any ground

to interfere in the impugned judgment dated 06.10.2017 passed by the court

below, which is well reasoned one.

Consequently, the present appeal being devoid of any merit

stands dismissed.



Whether speaking/non-speaking: Yes
Whether reportable : Yes

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