Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 17, (BPNS)
A division bench of the Kerala High Court held that once a child is grown up and can take rational decisions in personal matters, too much importance cannot be given to the parent’s demands. The court’s observation came while considering a petition filed by a father seeking custody of his 16-year-old son.
The division bench of Justices Anil K Narendran and PG Ajithkumar in the judgment observed that in custody battles, the welfare of the child has to be given the predominance
“Of course, while the child is staying with the mother, the father has to be allowed to interact with the child. It is essential that the child maintains emotional bondage and warmth with both parents which helps his proper upbringing,” reads an excerpt from the judgment.
Earlier, the father of the child, who is the petitioner, alleged that without sufficient reason, the respondent (the mother of the child) left his companionship with the child in 2020. The father also stated that he is trying to get permanent custody of the child, who is now aged 16 years. He also alleged that the respondent is not permitting him to visit the child.
The father had first approached the Family Court Thrissur. The court then allowed him to have visitation right from 10.00 a.m. to 12 pm on every second Saturday. But allowed the child to remain with the mother following an interaction with him.
The high court had earlier directed the Secretary of, Taluk Legal Services Committee, Chavakkad to submit a report, after visiting the child. The court also interacted with the child, where he expressed the desire to stay with his mother.
The child is said to be having obesity and has limitations to move freely. It is seen that he has to use a wheelchair often for his movements.
The court, considering various Supreme Court verdicts that while deciding matters of custody of a child, the primary and paramount consideration are the welfare of the child, held that the order of the Family Court is not liable to be set aside.
However, it modified the time allowed for visitation. The father was allowed to interact with the child from 10 am to 12 pm every second and fourth Saturday. The venue for interaction can be decided by the mother taking into account the convenience and preference of the child.