CHENNAI: A widow can claim custody of her child fathered by her deceased husband even after remarriage, the Madras High Court has ruled.
A division bench of Justices S Tamilvanan and CT Selvam gave the ruling while allowing a habeas corpus writ petition from the mother, last week.
“The petitioner is admittedly the mother and natural guardian of the minor child, Kaviyasri, whose father is no more. Solemnizing the second marriage with another person after the death of her first husband is not an illegal or improper act. In the aforesaid circumstances, we are of the view that the claim of the petitioner is legally sustainable, when the claim is made by the mother and natural guardian seeking custody. There is no legal embargo on the petitioner in seeking custody. Further, Kaliyammal the mother-in-law, who is the mother of the deceased husband, is not a similarly placed person in seeking custody of the child,” the bench said and directed Kaliyammal, to hand over the custody of the child, to the petitioner forthwith.”
According to the petitioner, she was married to one Menon Babu on September 3, 2010 and out of wedlock, a female child Kavyasri, was born. Menon Babu, a drunkard, committed suicide, hanging himself on June 26, 2013. After his demise, the petitioner stayed in her father’s house along with the child.
On February 22, this year, she married another man Suseendran. Three days later on February 25, the child was kidnapped by Kaliyammal while returning from school. The petitioner and mother lodged a complaint with Manalmedu police in Nagapattinam District against Kaliyammal and 13 others.
As there was no progress on the plaint, she moved the High Court with the present petition.
Allowing the petition, the bench said that after the death of her husband, the petitioner was free, as per law, to decide her second marriage. Accordingly she married Suseendran. The second husbandexpressed willingness to look after the child.