Saturday, December 6, 2008

Custody rules

The Supreme Court of India has recently granted custody of a minor boy to his teacher mother of humble means. The father in this case, a Mr. Gaurav Nagpal kidnapped his son after the divorce, and was holding on to him against the rule of law. In this case, the ruling was absolutely right. Clearly, the father has displayed a lack of moral fibre with his acts. Let me say on the record that I completely support this ruling.

The Times of India titled this story as "Money has no meaning in custody battles: SC." The bench is quoted as saying, "In determining the question as to who should be given custody of a minor child, the paramount consideration is the 'welfare of the child' and not rights of the parents under a statute." Fair enough. It goes on to say, "Simply because the father loves his children and is not shown to be otherwise undesirable does not necessarily lead to a conclusion that the welfare of the children would be better promoted by granting their custody to him."

The welfare of a child in a custody battle is paramount. I get that. I also understand that a child needs a mother during the developmental years. Gaurav Nagpal in this case is a rich man who is providing his son an education well beyond the mother's means. He used this point to state that he is in a better position to take care of his son. The SC ruled that as the education of son is very important, the father should continue to pay for the education while the son stays with his mother.

My question is this; to what extent must the mother be proved to be a deviant for the father to get custody? I appreciate the need for maternal love in the growing years of a child, but what if the son is 16 years old? I would contend that he needs his father more. I don't know the age of the boy in this case, but I'm pretty sure that the bench would be skittish in granting the custody to the father if the son was a teenager unless there is sufficient proof of the mother being abusive or something.

I am unclear about this topic as I am far from the stage where I would consider myself mature enough to have a child of my own, but I was always old enough to have an opinion. So readers, please chime in with opinions to clear my mind a little.

5 comments:

sthitapragnya said...

Call me a momma's boy, but I think the boy needs the mother's care as a minor esp. if he's younger than 11 or 10. Well, one could argue that a father is equally capable of fostering a child as a mother, particularly if he's well off, but there's something in a mother's love which is irreplaceable. Don't ask me what, but something makes a mother a tad bit more special! :) I might be wrong though. I know a father is irreplaceable too, nevertheless.

Liberal said...

@sthitapragnya
I made that point myself that a boy might need the mother more during formative years but when he does get into the older minor years he might need the father more...wat abt that?

buddy said...

nothing beats a two-parent family.
anything else is messed up, no matter what

Liberal said...

@buddy
I agree with you that a two-parent family is ideal, but given this situation and given that it becoming more and more prevalent, I would consider your comment an oversimplification...wat do u say?

Anonymous said...

Yeah as you said a child will need a mother more in the formative years, but when he gets older he will need a father too. A statistical analysis (universities do carry out hierarchical regression analysis taking into considerations the cases where such situations have taken place), might serve as a help, to decide the custody.(We can also take into consideration how a single parent would influence the behaviour and personality of the child, and it can be possible that a child raised by a father, be more independent and socially competent and a child raised by a mother might be emotionally mature in his or her early years. Opposite can be perfectly true too.)We can also go with idea of same sex parent, although it might sound orthodox.As such custody determinations are better made on case by case basis.