Departing from the prevailing law, the Supreme Court in a landmark judgment rejected the father’s plea that court should not interview the child while deciding custody matters. The court said it was important to consider the father’s ‘character’ while ascertaining the child’s custody.
The single judge bench of Justice C.K.Thakkar pronounced the verdict, reversing Calcutta High Court judgment and allowing the petition of grandparents of the boy, who took him in their custody after his mother died due to alleged dowry demands by the child’s father.
In the order court further said, “Children are not mere chattels nor are they toys for their parents. Simply because the father loves his children and is not shown to be otherwise undesirable, does not lead to the conclusion that the welfare of the children would be better promoted by granting their custody to the father. The court should ascertain the wishes the of the child while taking a final decision on his or her custody.”
The father of the boy is facing trial following criminal charges for dowry death of his wife.
The grandparents appealed before the Supreme Court after the two lower courts, including Calcutta High Court, took the view that irrespective of the wishes of the child, the father alone was entitled to the custody of the boy as natural guardian.